Having a healthy heart is paramount to enjoying a healthy life. Of course, having good heart health involves the well-known factors of eating well, exercising often, steering clear of stress, and getting proper sleep– but could a lesser-known factor that’s actually more enjoyable than those other things be a resource for boosting your heart health as well?
The answer to that is a resounding yes, explains Michael Miller, MD, author of Heal Your Heart. The activity he’s talking about: laughter, the treatment he enjoys giving out best. One of his favorite moments as a medical physician is telling his patients that laughter truly is the best medicine– seeing the look on their face when he tells them to “laugh until they cry” is pretty priceless, he says.
But he’s not the only one giving the two-thumbs up for laughter’s hidden health benefits: the American Heart Association (AHA) also uncovered information that spoke to laughter’s greatness. Laughing often can reduce inflammation in your heart, decrease bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, and even make you happier, researchers realized. Considering positive emotions are at the root of good heart health– with stress being your heart’s biggest foe– perhaps it’s no surprise that laughter can help you retain a positive outlook on life, as well as a happily-ever-after heart.
Laughter can even get rid of any stress you may have in as few as a couple seconds. According to the AHA, persistent stress can lead to making poorer lifestyle decisions like smoking or drinking. But “laughing it off” literally takes the weight (of stress) off your chest, while providing you with a multitude of other great health benefits as well.
As someone who can be a chronic giggler at times, not to mention someone who finds certain things hilarious that nobody else finds remotely funny, I couldn’t help but smile when I read the findings of this research. After all, considering I’ve taken a conscious approach to ditch the stress and welcome the happy times in recent months, laughter has kind of become my M.O.
I can certainly tell the difference in the way I feel immediately after laughing– the rush of confidence, the wave of relaxation and acceptance of the world in that ensuing moment is simply wonderful.
How about you– do you laugh as often as you should? Feel free to share your comments below!
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.