Laugh for heart health
The age-old saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is true! Apart from improving mental health and decreasing stress, laughing also helps to lower blood pressure.
A doctor asked his patient if high blood pressure runs in his family.
“Yes” responded the patient.
“Is it on your mother’s or father’s side?” questioned the doctor.
“Neither, my wife’s.” the patient replied, “what?” the doctor said “that can’t be, how can you get it from your wife’s family?”
“You should meet them sometime!”
Various medical studies completed over the last 40 years have all produced the same results. Laughing can help to lower your blood pressure – amazing! It has been discovered that unfriendly, angry individuals have higher rates of cardiovascular disease. Those who take life a little less seriously and enjoy a good laugh may have a lower risk.
Laughing makes you feel good, there is no doubt about that! But laughing also improves stress and anxiety by reducing the amount of the stress hormone cortisol being released by the brain. Research has also discovered that blood vessel inflammation and ‘good cholesterol’ levels are improved, further supporting healthy blood pressure.
If your comedic skills are not fine-tuned, don’t despair. You don’t need to google ‘best jokes’ daily to benefit from humour. The laughing yoga phenomenon is fast growing in popularity. This unique type of yoga incorporates classic yoga poses and stretches with breathing techniques and belly laughs. If yoga isn’t your thing, laughing groups are also popping up all over the place. Even simply watching a funny movie can have positive effects on blood pressure. So get laughing!
Written by Perri Simon
SiSU Wellness Nutritionist
No laughing matter. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners2017; 67(659): 254.
Chaya MS, Kataria M, Nagendra R, et al. The effects of hearty extended unconditional (HEU) laughter using laughter yoga techniques on physiological, psychological, and immunological parameters in the workplace: a randomized control trial. American Society of Hypertension 2008 Annual Meeting; May 14, 2008; New Orleans, LA.