Why Laughter is the Best Medicine
Laughter is the best medicine. It is healthy, reduces stress, improves your immune system, relieves pain and improves your mood. All emotions link and influence your overall health. When you feel threatened, your heart rate increases and your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) decreases. When you feel safe and relaxed, your heart rate decreases (calms down) and your HRV increases.
A variety of videos were shown to people to induce different emotions. The videos amused, frightened, angered, or left people feeling neutral. While watching amusing videos, heart rate significantly calmed down and HRV increased indicating that laughter stimulated the parasympathetic calming nervous system. But, the parasympathetic nervous system was not engaged while watching the videos that triggered fear or anger.
The calming Parasympathetic Nervous System counteracts the stress Sympathetic Nervous System resulting in many health benefits. When we are amused, we feel relaxed, happy, and safe. In contrast when we are not, our health is affected by the negative emotions.
Make it a habit to laugh each day. When you relax, is may be easier to find humor in different situations and environments. Relax your muscle tension with the Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercises and listen to the Guided Meditations to help you relax.