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Why Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine

Havenwood Show (Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)

(c) Concord Monitor/Ken Williams

Did you hear the one about Fred and Bertha? Fred woke up one morning and remembered he’d proposed to his date, Bertha, the night before. But he couldn’t remember her answer, so he rang her up.

“Hi, Bertha!” said Fred. “Do you remember me proposing last night?”

“Oh, thank goodness!” Bertha exclaimed. “I knew I’d said yes to someone, but I couldn’t remember who!”

If you laughed at our silly story, you may be well on your way to getting healthier. It seems that for a variety of reasons, laughter really can be the best medicine. Here are some of the benefits research tells us we can expect when we take time to laugh every day.

Havenwood Show (Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)

(c) Concord Monitor/Ken Williams

You’ll Get Some Benefits of Exercise — Without the Sweating!

When you laugh, you trigger the release of endorphins, the chemicals in your body that make you feel happy. Exercise releases these same chemicals.

And that’s not the only way your body responds to a good belly laugh. The muscles in your face and body stretch, your blood pressure and pulse increase, and you breathe faster — resulting in more oxygen circulating. In other words, the effect is very similar to exercise!

You’ll Catch More Winks

When you laugh, your entire body relaxes. Engaging in some hearty laughter can lower your stress and physical tension, and your muscles may be more relaxed for as long as 45 minutes.

Laughing also promotes circulation, which helps encourage relaxation and can lessen some of the physical symptoms you may experience when you’re stressed. When you laugh, you relax. When you can relax, you may sleep better.

Havenwood Show (Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)

(c) Concord Monitor/Ken Williams

You’ll Be a Better Fighter

A fighter of infections, that is! High stress is linked to a less-responsive immune system, research has found. Subjecting yourself to humor may increase your body’s levels of antibodies — which fight off infection — and immune cells. In addition, getting in your daily dose of chuckles can lower the levels of stress hormones in your body. All these responses can help you build better resistance to illness.

You’ll Get in the Flow

Laughter can help improve your blood flow and the condition of your blood vessels, which can help guard against cardiovascular issues like heart attacks. The release of endorphins may be responsible for the improvement in the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.

Havenwood Show (Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)

(c) Concord Monitor/Ken Williams

You’ll Build a Bigger Buffer

Laughing can’t protect you from the ups and downs of life, but it can help you create a buffer against some of the situations that can contribute to depression. People who combat stress with humor don’t feel as lonely, and they experience better feelings of self-worth. In addition, research has found that humor therapy can work as well as antipsychotic medications in reducing agitation in dementia patients.

HHH Clowns entertain at Havenwood;s , medical care facility. (Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)

(c) Concord Monitor/Ken Williams

Take Some Time to Laugh

Whether you prefer hearing a joke from a friend or catching an episode of “I Love Lucy” — just think about the candy assembly line bit if you need a good laugh — try to get your daily dose of laughter. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we always have fun events on tap, and we love to laugh. Contact us today to schedule your visit!