Laughter is the best medicine

Heard this phrase before?  Thought it was just hogwash?  Well I’m here to tell you there is scientific truth behind this statement. 

Doctors have known for years that negative emotions can bring on disease but recently, studies have shown that humor and laughter produce positive health benefits.

Have you ever laughed so hard your stomach muscles actually hurt, or you can hardly catch your breath?  These are all signs of your body getting health benefits from your chuckle.  A study from Vanderbilt University  found that three minutes of hearty laughter per day is equivalent to 15 minutes on an exercise bike. 

Health benefits of laughter

  • Produces deeper breathing
  • Stretches muscles.
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Increases blood flow=decrease risk of heart disease
  • Better sleep
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Decreases pain perception
  • Burns calories
  • Elevates mood
  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves brain functioning
  • reduces problems associated with arthritis and ulcers
  • Decreases anxiety, anger and guilt—distraction from negative emotions
  • Reduces the stress hormones in the body (adrenaline & cortisol) while increasing mood enhancing hormones like endorphins

Keep laughing Chicago!

A recent study showed that pre-school-aged children laugh up to 400 times a day, but by the time we reach adulthood, we only laugh a mere 17 times per day on average.  Keep laughing-and do it for your health!

 Where you can laugh in Chicago

Bottom line: Let’s say, for a moment, that none of this “scientific” evidence is valid and humor and laughter do not add one minute to your life.  Of the minutes you DO have in life, are any of the ones spent in laughter wasted?

Sources: WebMD, Advocate Health Care, Mayo Clinic

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