We’ve all heard the old saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’. But is it true? Does having a good chuckle really have an impact on our health?
Apparently, yes. Research shows that laughter really is good for you and the health benefits may be just as important as a good diet and exercise.
He who has the last laugh … just might be the healthiest
Dr. Lee Berk, an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California, has spent nearly three decades studying the effects of laughter.
Berk says that laughing appears to cause the opposite effects of stress and shuts down the release of stress hormones like cortisol. It also triggers the production of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine, which have a myriad of calming, anti-anxiety benefits.
What’s more, laughter has been linked to a range of health benefits, from lower levels of inflammation to improved blood flow, and it can even assist the immune system to attack diseased cells.
Laughter as therapy: the power of a good giggle
These days, there are laughter workshops and laughter yoga available in just about every major city. What’s more, laughter therapy is now being used in many fields such as aged care, mental health, for people with disabilities and in the workplace.
Laughter therapy is often recommended for people with depression and other mental health disorders because of the mood-lifting effect as endorphins are released. And research from Deakin University in Victoria shows that people who laugh regularly in the workplace reduce their stress and improve communication, productivity and teamwork.
One thing’s for sure: laughter is a very cost-effective way to reduce stress and boost the immune system. So make sure you take every chance to grin, guffaw, chuckle, chortle or let rip with a huge belly laugh – you’ll be doing yourself a power of good.
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