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Laughter is the best medicine. Surely you’ve heard that said.
But is there any real proof that it’s true?
I mean, sure, a good belly laugh is a great way to release tension (and a lot more fun than a good cry!), but what does it do for your health?
Well, for instance, studies show that laughter can be a powerful immune booster. So watching comedy movies when you’re homesick can actually be a good thing! And that’s not all…
Laughing is also protective medicine for your heart.
Laughing maintains healthy blood vessels
A University of Maryland School of Medicine study showed that laughter is directly linked to the function of our blood vessels.
When a group of volunteers was shown laughter-provoking movies, the inner tissues of their blood vessels, known as the endothelium, dilated to accommodate increased blood flow.
When the same group was shown a movie that produced mental stress, their endothelial tissue developed vasoconstriction, a potentially unhealthy response in which the blood vessel lining constricts and blood flow is reduced.
“The endothelium is the first line in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so, given the results of our study, it is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says principal investigator Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The endothelium not only regulates blood flow but controls coagulation and blood thickening, which is directly related to the risk of stroke.
Happiness cuts the risk of hypertension
Hypertension is a huge risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
What if there were a risk-free intervention that could slash your risk of hypertension?
There is. It’s called happiness.
Of course, “happiness” is a subjective term. But it generally involves being in a stress-free state.
In a recent study, Japanese researchers examined data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) to see how subjective happiness related to hypertension risk.
Subjective happiness was rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with scores of eight or more being defined as “high levels of subjective happiness” and scores less than eight as “low levels of subjective happiness.”
People with higher levels of subjective happiness had a lower incidence of hypertension.
Since higher levels of happiness are linked with lower stress levels, the researchers feel that one explanation for this relationship could be that happiness is also linked to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Other ways to stay happy and protect your heart
It’s been proven that the words we use and the music we listen to can have a profound effect on our emotional health. That’s why music therapy can have healing effects on cancer and other illnesses, as well as on anxiety.
Finally, work toward cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” by choosing to see situations in the most positive light possible.
Studies show that gratitude can lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health. One study even found that gratitude lowered inflammation and improved heart rate variability in patients with Stage B heart failure.
So no matter how you do it, find a way to put a smile on your face each day. Your heart will thank you!
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Keep Laughing – It’s Good for Your Heart — South Denver Cardiology Associates
Subjective Happiness, Frequency of Laughter, and Hypertension: A Cross-Sectional Study Based on the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) — International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health