Embrace Laughter

Embrace Laughter
Article published by BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, a First United Bank Partner

The positive effects of laughter can last up to 45 minutes — lowering stress, reducing depression and helping your mind and body heal. Researchers actually recommend at least 15 minutes of laughter each day to help improve your heart health. Are you getting your daily dose?

Look at television or movie comedies that make you laugh. You experience increased blood flow while watching funny movies. 

Act like a kid and try not to take yourself so seriously. Spend some time with children and try to pick up their carefree and playful attitudes. Children love to laugh and they can make you laugh too. 

Unwind after a stressful day by reading the comics, a joke book or humor online. About 20 percent of all laughter is in response to jokes. 

Get with family and friends and host a game night party or go to a comedy club. Laughter is contagious, and you’re sure to laugh more with friends and family. In fact, people are 30 times more likely to laugh when other people are around than when they’re alone. 

Humor yourself. Laugh at yourself and watch your stress disappear. Find humor in the things that frustrate you.

Need more reasons to laugh? 

  • Optimists laugh more often and are healthier than pessimists. 
  • Laughter produces activities in cells that attack viruses and tumor cells, so frequent laughers are generally healthier. 
  • Laughers look younger than frowners. 
  • Frequent belly laughing gives your lungs a cleansing effect, similar to deep breathing. 
  • It is easier to laugh than frown. It takes 72 muscles to frown and only 14 to laugh. 
  • Laughter is an aerobic activity — it provides a workout for your diaphragm and increases your ability to use oxygen. 
  • Telling a joke connects you with other people. 
  • Laughter produces endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers that provide a general sense of well-being. 
  • Belly laughs are equal to an internal jog — providing good cardiac conditioning, especially to individuals who aren’t able to perform physical activity. 
  • Humor helps you keep things in perspective.

If all else fails, fake a laugh and you will reap the same benefits as you would from a real laugh.

Sources: American College of Cardiology; Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

This article was re-posted with permission from BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma.

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