We often hear the saying “laughter is the best medicine” and sure enough, it has been proven to be so. Smiling and laughing can actually help you live a healthier and longer life. Studies over the years have proven various mental and physical health benefits in direct relation to laughing. Of course, there is the apparent advantage of feeling happiness; however, as you continue reading, you may find out a few more surprising ones.
1. Protects the Heart
Laughing has been proven to help in protecting the heart from various cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks. It does so by aiding in improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow through the body. Furthermore, it helps in lowering the heart rate and reducing blood pressure. People that smile and laugh very often are less likely to develop heart problems.
2. Boosts the Immune System
Smiling and laughing can help in boosting your immune system as it forces the body to relax. This allows the immune system to react faster towards any threats to the body. Additionally, it also increases the production of immune cells and antibodies that help in fighting infections and diseases. People that laugh more are shown to have less colds and flus.
3. Reduces Stress
This one is a little obvious but all the more important! Laughter and smiling reduce the production of the stress hormone in the body and release endorphins. The release of these endorphins is triggered by the face’s muscle movement when producing a smile. Their release not only lowers stress levels, it also relieves pain. Have you ever fell down embarrassingly and laughed the pain off until you didn’t feel it? That laughter is actually acting as a natural pain killer.
Interestingly enough, you will still reap the benefits of smiling or laughing even if it isn’t a genuine smile. The brain is unable to differentiate between the fake and real smile and will react the same regardless. Therefore, even forcing a smile sometimes can be good for you.
4. Prolongs Life Spans
Did you know that laughing more can actually prolong your life span? Studies show that individuals that smile and laugh more are more likely to live longer than those who don’t. The diverse health benefits of this simple act all work together to increase an individual’s life span with a shown average of 7 years more.
5. Helps in a Younger Look
The act of smiling or laughing actually works as a natural face lift. It requires the exercise of 15 muscles in the face. Studies show that people who smile more appear more youthful by an average of three years.
6. Burns Calories
Studies show that laughing for 10-15 minutes a day can burn an average of 40 calories. Laughing has been shown to increase calorie burning by up to 20% compared to not doing any laughing. Furthermore, a longer and more intense laughter is shown to have even greater effects. Laughing also helps in toning one’s abs as the muscles expand and contract during the act.
I hope all these benefits are getting you smiling already and that you are now more open to embracing more laughs in your everyday life.
Are there any other benefits of laughing that you think should be included on the list?