Laughter may not be the BEST medicine, but science continues to prove that it definitely IS medicine in that it affects positive, physiologic changes in our bodies…and with NO negative effects! Whether you are quietly chuckling about an old Far Side cartoon, or whether you’re laughing with a theater full of people while watching the new Three Stooges movie, laughing does you good, and that’s no joke!
Dr. Kipp Van Camp tells us that as soon as you begin to laugh, your intake of oxygen-rich air improves, which stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles. Ultimately, this increases the endorphins released in your brain. A hearty laugh out loud turns on your stress response which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. But, as quickly as your stress response is fired up, it is then switched off and cools down. This firing up followed by sudden cooling down results in a relaxed and satisfied feeling. Laughter promotes increased circulation and blood flow throughout our entire body, which then aids in muscle relaxation. This action helps to relieve the ill-effects of stress.
Not only does laughter improve your body’s health in the short term, laughter also has a long term effect on each of us. We can all appreciate how detrimental negative thoughts are on our well-being. Carrying the weight of the world upon our shoulders actually leads to the release of stress chemicals, like cortisol, into our blood stream. These stress chemicals have negative effects on our body such as decreasing our immune system’s ability to ward off infection and disease. In addition, cortisol increases our blood pressure, sometimes to critical values. However, positive thoughts lead to a release of neuropeptides that help fight off infection, decrease stress, and potentially decrease more serious illnesses. Laughter can ease pain by aiding the body’s ability to produce natural pain killers. The act of laughing can make it easier to cope with difficult situations and help each of us to connect with others.
So, you can see that smiling, laughing, and planting Seeds of Happiness actually has a medicinal benefit to our overall well-being. Scientific studies have confirmed this.Be sure to laugh today, loudly and often. Those are your doctor’s orders, per Dr. Kipp Van Kamp!
Listen to the recent radio interview with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp and Mark Borella, the Seeds of Happiness guy.
The Laughter Show 3-23-12