We rely on all sorts of medicines to relieve pain, lower blood sugar, improve circulation, and boost our immunity, but life gives us a natural way to help achieve all of these – and best of all, it’s free!
I’m talking about laughter.
It’s not just something most of us don’t do nearly enough – it’s strong medicine!
Here’s just a few ways a good chuckle affects our mind and body:
- The Brain – Laughter dissolves distressing emotions because it is impossible to feel anxiety at the same time as joy. It restores our sense of balance, gives us perspective, keeps us grounded, increases intimacy with friends, increases creativity, and generally keeps us focused and alert. When the mood is light, we also tend to let go of disagreements and disappointments, which can manifest in physical stress on the rest of the body.
- Hormones – Those good feelings are the result of the body releasing chemicals called endorphins that temporarily relieve pain.
- Muscles – Laughing causes muscles to relax for up to 45 minutes after a chuckle ends. The human body normally experiences physical tension, so the release has a big impact.
- Immune System – Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. This makes the body more resistant to disease.
- The Heart – When we react with laughter, our blood vessels experience better functioning, which leads to increased blood flow, which can help guard us against cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks.
- Sleep – With reduced stress, the body is better able to heal and renew while we enjoy a deeper sleep.
These are just a few of the ways that watching a funny movie or TV show may be just what the doctor ordered for Indiana seniors.