Top 10 Health Benefits of Laughter

byRachelDugas3 minutes

One of the most well-known side effects of using cannabis is experiencing bouts of endless giggles. While some may perceive the giggles as pure silliness, it turns out that laughing is not only fun, it’s also great for our health. Dr. Lee Berk has spent three decades studying how laughter affects the body and mind, and he’s discovered myriad short- and long-term health benefits. He considers regular laughter a healthy lifestyle activity right along with a good night’s sleep, healthy diet and regular exercise.

Laughing can relax your whole body and mind, create social connections and foster uplifting feelings that require no explanation. While many people find opportunities for laughter from a funny movie or comedy show, some hang out with friends, whether with or without a little cannabis, to help lighten their mood.

Reduce Stress & Increase Happiness

According to Berk, our mind, hormone system and immune system are in constant communication, which means our mood and mindset have a real impact on our ability to fight off disease. In their 2009 research study at Loma Linda University, researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan found significant health benefits that stem from laughter, including lower stress levels, reduced inflammatory response and increased “good” cholesterol levels, all of which point to increased cardiovascular health and immune system response.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Laughter

1. Lowers blood pressure

Laughing gets our blood pumping, which improves blood flow and works the cardiovascular muscles, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

2. Reduces stress

Dr. Berk found laughter shuts down the release of stress hormone cortisol and triggers the release of feel-good chemical dopamine. The contraction and release of muscles during laughter also soothes tension and helps your body relax and de-stress.

3. Boosts the immune system

Experiencing lower levels of stress and anxiety naturally boosts our immune system by taking us out of the fight-or-flight response and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Laughter also boosts our T-cell levels, special immune system cells that help fight illness.

4. Relieves pain

Laughter releases endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers, easing chronic pain while lowering stress and anxiety. Endorphins can also be released by other fun activities like cardiovascular exercise, listening to music, eating chocolate and having sex.

5. Stimulates organs and oxygenates brain

When we laugh, we expand and contract our ab muscles (toned abs are another side bonus!) and stimulate our heart and lungs. With every snort and guffaw, our deep breaths are sending extra oxygen to our brain, muscles and organs. The extra stimulation of blood and oxygen circulation helps aid muscle relaxation and eases stress.

6. Induces a meditative brain state

Laughter induces gamma brain wave frequencies, the fastest frequency, usually seen among experienced meditators and associated with “feelings of blessings” among monks. Berk says these gamma waves bolster recall and memory by improving the synchronization of your neuronal activity.

7. Improves your mood

Increasing positive thoughts and decreasing stress helps fight depression and anxiety, resulting in happy vibes and a good mood.

8. Enhances overall well-being

Having a positive outlook increases overall health and makes it easier to deal with difficult challenges and situations. Basically, laughter creates a positive, upward spiral to good health.

9. Creates social connection and joy in life

Need we say more?

Photo credit: Flickr