Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Many Health Benefits of Laughter

What is better than a contagious giggle that goes beyond your control? Laughter is just a natural, easy to share, and spontaneous reaction that its no wonder it is so good for you. Laughter truly makes you feel better.

So, just what can laughter do for your health? It can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
  • Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
  • Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
  • Improve alertness, creativity, and memory
According to humor expert, William Fry, M.D. of Stanford University, humor and creativity work in similar ways by creating relationships between two totally disconnected items, you engage the whole brain.

Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.

So let’s laugh. Let's get a good laugh going. What makes you laugh? Go ahead, share your best in the comments below. Spread laughter and good health all at one time!

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