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Laughing It Up For The Sake Of Your Health

May 22, 2008
Did you know that when you respond to the everyday stresses of life with an over abundance of negative emotional responses such as anxiety, anger, or hostility you are significantly increasing your risk of developing heart disease, and many others?

What do all of these negative emotions have in common, can you guess what emotion underlies them all? The underlying emotion that drives us to feel anxiety, anger, and hostility is fear.

The question I am going to propose to you is this, what scares you so much about living life that you are afraid to live it up to its full capacity? How much do you, happily, laugh at yourself and with others? How often you laugh at life, and with life, can definitely provide some positive, physical health effects.

In fact, an official research study undertaken by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, back in November 2000, headed by Dr. Michael Miller, M.D., revealed for the first time just how healthy it really is to laugh.

This investigation originally consisted of 300 participants. Half (150) of the test subjects were healthy and age-matched with another 150 test subjects, who had suffered a heart attack or who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery.

A subsequent study that has been conducted since the first one, by the way, confirms earlier findings, in that laughter seems to increase blood flow to the 'endothelium', the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels.

Fearful emotions were shown to restrict blood flow, while the opposite was true during episodes of extreme happiness. Overall, average blood flow increased by 22 percent during and after bouts of laughter, while blood flow decreased by 35 percent during mental stress.

It is also worth mentioning here, that the positive health effects of laughing were experienced for up to several hours after the joyful event. The same can be said for a stressful event. So, being mindful of what life events you let upset you would be wise.

Miller's study indicated that heart disease patients, who took life or themselves too seriously, were 40 percent less likely to laugh at a wide variety of common, everyday life situations, when compared to their healthy age related counterparts.

Laughing it up can, and does, help counteract the negative effects of chronic stress on the body. Besides increasing blood flow in blood vessels, surprising results also show that laughing appears to increase your immune system response, lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics, and helps induce a state of relaxation promoting better sleep.

More good news, when you are laughing it up you are increasing the oxygen flow throughout your entire body system, benefiting at both the cellular and organ level. Repetition at gasping for air over something uncontrollably funny is akin to a short-term hyperventilation session. Ever heard of an oxygen bar?

If you have, try to have a good laugh while you are there, too. Because, when you are taking in huge amounts of air while you are laughing, just like you are partaking of at an oxygen bar, it increases your energy on an intracellular level that is important to sustaining human life.

A good hearty laugh, while it boosts circulation of your blood and oxygen flow, will also give you quite an abdominal work-out. Looking for a fun way to achieve those six-pack abs you admire so much? What better way can you think of to help you get those stomach muscles in shape? It will, also, help exercise facial muscles.

Ever laughed so hard that your sides ached and your face was tired? Problem is, we don't get nearly enough of these kinds of laughs as we had ought to.

The biochemical release related to this type of amusement is not, scientifically, well understood. However, what is understood, is that brain chemical releases such as serotonin (among many others) and immune system chemicals called 'interleukins' are known to be involved. Imagine what the major pharmaceutical companies would charge us for these types of naturally released chemical compounds if they could synthesize and bottle them.

All you have to do to get these, though is to freely improve your greater outlook on life in general. So, how can you possibly do this? A few ideas come to mind. 1.Try to spend more time around friends or family with a good sense of humor, and who make you feel good. 2. Watch a group of children interact with each other while playing. 3. Rent some funny movies, or watch a live comedy improv show, or on television. 4. Imagine some of your more stuffy co-workers without clothing on. How funny would they look if they weren't hiding behind their fashion label apparel?

The bottom line is this, to benefit from the healthy effects of laughing, emotionally and physically, you have to actively try to look for more humor in everyday life situations. Take note when a certain situation is making you feel uptight, threatened, or fearful. Remember, fear is only useful and necessary when it involves saving your life, not for experiencing on a daily basis.

The future recommendations for reducing chronic stress that may result in heart disease, or any other life-altering health condition, just might be to properly exercise routinely, eat and drink wisely, and get in a few good belly laughs as often as you can. In doing this, we would all become a little bit healthier, and certainly feel happier with our world.
About the Author
Brenda Skidmore has spent the last five years actively researching natural health care alternatives. It is her sincere desire to empower others by sharing this important information. To improve your health today visit
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