10.30.19

The Link Between Giggles and Good Health

We all know that a bit of laughter can do wonders for you. The mental and emotional effects become apparent immediately. What you may not notice is the profound physical effect that a good sense of humor has on your health.

Previous articles in The Beacon we have focused on the prescription drug problem we have in the United States. Managing chronic pain and other conditions can be extremely challenging, costly, and often addictive or deadly. What many do not realize is the effects of laughter on the body’s natural pain control system.

Laughter releases endorphins, which have been dubbed the body’s natural painkillers. These chemicals activate the descending pain control system in the brain, blocking incoming pain signals. Frequent laughter has been found to reduce chronic pain and stress which reduces reliance on prescription medications.

Short-term benefits

A good laugh has great short-term benefits. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress

Long-term effects

Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.

Splashlight encourages you, and your employees, and your families to get your giggle on to fight the medication dependence problem.

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