The benefits of a good laugh are wide-ranging and can include protection from emotional issues like depression and improving the health of your heart. Here’s what experts know about the health benefits of laughter:
Mental health benefits.Mental health benefits. Although you probably can’t laugh off depression, one of the many benefits of laughter and a sense of humor is that they buffer you against the negatives of life that could lead to depression. As an added bonus, research shows that people who use humor to fight stress also feel less lonely and more positive about themselves. And one recent study found that humor therapy was as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs — minus the side effects — in managing agitation in patients with dementia.
Physical benefits.Although we can’t yet say that a certain number of laughs every day will keep the doctor away, studies show that people who say they laugh a lot also tend to be in good health and generally feel well. Laughter is also one of the most commonly used complementary therapies among cancer patients, who find that one of the benefits of laughter is an improved quality of life.
Heart health benefits.Laughter could be healthy for your heart, too. Some research shows that when you laugh, there is an increase in oxygen-rich blood flow in your body, possibly due to the release of endorphins, which create a chemical rush that counters negative feelings and stress. Activities that increase endorphins include agood workoutandlistening to music you love, and laughter deserves its place on the list with these other stress busters.
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