Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

 Lucy Lambriex/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

It all depends on what you’re watching
Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

 Lucy Lambriex/DigitalVision via Getty Images

If you laugh out loud at Moira and David on “Schitt’s Creek” or crack up other feel-good shows, there’s some added bonus in that laugh besides entertainment. That chuckle just might be good for your health too.

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Much like sneezing or yawning, laughing is a natural human reflex. Though laughter’s true biological purpose remains a mystery, a study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine shows that laughter has many positive benefits for those who do it regularly.

While many people know that it can help combat symptoms of anxiety and reduce the effects of stress on your body, research suggests that there are physical health benefits too.

Among other things, laughter has been shown to increase pain tolerance, reduce agitation in dementia patients and boost the immune system. It also has been shown to increase blood flow, helping to reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of cholesterol plaque.

In fact, regular laughter is so beneficial, hospitals and other healthcare institutions have begun incorporating humor therapy into their programs to help people cope with everything from chronic diseases like heart disease to cancer.

Even if you don't have the most active funny bone, the Mayo Clinic suggests laughter can be learned through finding humor in the world around you and your own life situations. Staying in touch with loves ones to share about your experiences and hear about their days could help spark some soul-southing laughter.

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If you’re still finding it difficult to break out your belly laugh, it might be time to free your brain from stress and clear out negative thoughts with these ways to do a mental detox.