(Natural News) Laughter doesn’t cost a single cent. It comes freely and helps a person deal with life’s absurdities. Sometimes, a good joke is all you need to perk right up after a downward slump, but laughter can do a lot more than just make you feel good. It turns out that regularly tickling your metaphorical funny bone with a good joke is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy heart.
There’s a good reason why you should laugh every single day. Frequent laughter can actually leave a positive impact on your overall health and well-being. These physical effects can last up to 24 hours. That natural high and rush of blood you feel after a side-splitting fit of laughter are signs of this. Laughter causes your body to release beta-endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemicals that temporarily relieve pain and are responsible for that natural high. This creates a chain reaction, releasing nitric oxide and causing an increase in blood being pumped through your body. Nitric oxide dilates the inner lining of your blood vessels, while also reducing artery inflammation and preventing the formation of cholesterol plaque. (Related: Laughter really is the best medicine — Lower blood sugar, ease pain and boost health with a daily dose of mirth.)
Furthermore, research suggests that laughter can provide physical health benefits such as increasing the levels of HDL in your body and decreasing your stress hormone levels. HDL is high-density lipoprotein, otherwise known as the “good cholesterol.” Heart disease is no joke and research tells us that low levels of HDL cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand, healthy levels of HDL cholesterol may help protect against stroke and heart attack. Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine cause our blood vessels to constrict. Laugh away those stress hormones to promote healthy blood circulation.
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Laughter additionally boosts your immune system and strengthens your ability to fight off disease. It does this by increasing the amount of antibody-producing cells in your immune system.
Ways to get your daily laughter dosage
It cannot be understated how much a sense of humor administered in daily doses truly makes for the best medicine. Laughter is the only contagious thing you will want to spread to other people. Here are some ways to stay lighthearted while also keeping a healthy heart:
- Laughter yoga. Exercise is great for your heart but laughter yoga elevates it to a whole new level. Laughter yoga combines simulated laughter exercises with gentle breathing exercises. On its own, yoga already promotes mental health by relieving stress and anxiety but this form of yoga will help you learn how to laugh at life even when there isn’t anything remotely humorous going on around you. Gain the health benefits of both laughter and yoga at the same time with this revolutionary concept in mind-body exercise.
- Spend time with friends and family. Being with the people you care about helps cultivate fun memories. Schedule a regular game night for everyone to spend quality time with each other or go to a comedy club. Feel free to act silly with those closest to you. Even embarrassing moments can give everyone something to laugh at for a long time. Children are also an endless source of laughter.
- Don’t take life so seriously. Find the humor in your daily life, even in small things. Every little bit helps. Your mental health will also thank you for it.
- Surround yourself with things that make you laugh. Comic books, videos, and photos that can give you an instant chuckle make for the perfect arsenal to combat negativity. At the very least, they can put a smile on your face and lift you right back up for a few moments of the day.
If you want to learn more about how to keep your heart healthy, you can read more articles at Heart.news.