There is some truth in the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Laughter can’t cure all ailments, but it induces positive physical changes in our body.Laughter is linked to the healthy functioning of blood vessels. Laughter leads to a reduction in stress hormones, including epinephrine and cortisol.
The relation of laughter and nitric oxide:
Laughter causes the release of beta-endorphins in the hypothalamus (part of brain), which leads to the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelium) to expand in order to increase blood flow.
Nitric oxide also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and preventing formation of cholesterol plaque (atherosclerosis) in coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis affects the endothelium and is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Laughing maintains a healthy endothelium and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. These endothelial benefits appear to be similar to the benefits of aerobic exercise or cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins. Laughter also increases HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Laughter generates deeper breathing and sends more oxygenated blood through the body.
Laughter keeps you healthy
Strong links have been established between emotions and cardiovascular health. Personalities with hostility, anger, depression, anxiety and social isolation are at high risk for heart disease whereas laughter and happiness actually helps in staying healthy. People with heart disease are 40 percent less likely to laugh than people without it. In a study of patients with heart disease, those with a pessimistic outlook about their ability to recover were twice as likely as optimists to have died one year later. In patients recovering from heart attacks, those who scored high on sadness and depression were eight times as likely as optimistic patients to die within the next 18 months.
The positive effects of laughter last 24 hours. So, one should laugh every day. Always, look at the lighter side of things; watch comedy and spend more time with loved ones who bring joy and laughter. In laughter yoga, people practice laughter as a group. Laughter is forced at first, but it can soon turn into spontaneous laughter.