Laughter doesn’t just feel good. It is good. Science has shown that laughter is good for your cardiovascular health and overall well-being.1 Benefits can range from lowering your risk of heart attack and disease to reducing blood pressure. Let’s explore why that is and the other ways it supports your heart health.
Why is Laughing Good for the Heart?
When we laugh, a lot happens. Endorphins (the “feel-good hormones”) are released, giving you a sense of wellness and euphoria. They’re also released when you exercise, eat foods you enjoy, and have sex.
Not only do they put you at greater ease, but endorphins also counteract the hormones released when you’re stressed. When you experience anxiety or other negative emotions, stress hormones, such as cortisol, are released which are harmful to the heart. They can increase blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and your overall risk of cardiovascular disease.2
When you laugh, the endorphins cancel out the negative emotions and symptoms caused by stress, bettering your overall heart health.
What are the Cardiovascular Benefits of Laughing?
The benefits that laughing has on the heart are wide-ranging. They include:
Lowering Risk of Heart Disease
Studies have shown that those who laugh less are at greater risk for stroke and heart disease.3 Laughing temporarily causes you to take deeper breaths, which oxygenates the blood and increases circulation, allowing everything to move more smoothly. And all of this can help to lower your risk of heart disease and allow your vessels to function more optimally.
Promotes Weight Loss
Being overweight puts extra strain on your heart. And when chronically stressed, not only does the cortisol that’s release have negative impacts on your heart, but it also affects your weight. In fact, having excessive amounts of cortisol can quickly result in weight gain. Because laughing lowers stress levels, it also makes it easier to keep off the extra pounds. (Plus, as a bonus, laughing actually burns calories!)
Boosts Your Immune System
Your immune system helps to keep everything, including your heart, running optimally by keeping you healthy. Laughing helps give your immune system an extra boost by producing both T-cells and antibodies that are both known for their ability to fight infection.4 And lower levels of cortisol mean less inflammation which gives your body the chance to better ward off illness.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Laughing often has a big impact on systolic blood pressure. In fact, one study showed that blood pressure readings went down by 7mmHg immediately following a laughing fit.5 This is because the endorphins that are released when you laugh cause you to enter a more relaxed state, which results in lowered blood pressure. And less strain on your heart.
Time and again, the benefits of laughing are made clear. So, how can you start to incorporate more laughter into your life? Dig deep for this one. Do you enjoy funny movies, time with your comedic friends, or maybe a trip to a theme park? Discover what it is that would invite more laughter into your life. And then, do that more!