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Laughter is the Best Anti-Ageing Medicine!

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 22 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Laughter Laughing Anti-ageing Endorphins

In our search for miracle cures and treatments to fight the signs of ageing, we often overlook one of the best anti-ageing weapons of all: laughter. We have all heard the line “Laughter is the best medicine” – well, it turns out that laughter may be the best anti-ageing medicine too. Latest research showing that laughter can have amazing effects on stress hormones, as well as boosting your cardiovascular and immune systems. And best of all – it’s free and it feels good!

Stress – your biggest ageing enemy

We all know that stress is bad for you. Whether you’re feeling anxious, angry or just constantly tense – it’s bad news. Not only can it weaken your immune system and invite disease but it can also accelerate ageing. In fact, it can undo all the good work from the anti-ageing supplements and creams and serums and treatments you are faithfully applying and make them a total waste of time. But there is am easy way to combat stress: laugh. A daily does of humour not only protects your health but helps you fight ageing.

How does laughter stop ageing?

Aside from the fact that you FEEL better after a bout of laughter – lighter and more relaxed – there are distinct physiological changes too. In fact, just ANTICIPATING laughter can cause a cascade of positive physiological effects in your body.

For example, when you laugh, you actually go through a similar process to when you are jogging: your heart rate increases, the blood flow to your brain increases too, to deliver more oxygen and your respiratory rate goes up too as your lungs expand. Your blood pressure responds just the same as if you were doing physical exercise.

Laughing is a great cardio- workout. The physical act of laughing will not only boost your cardio-vascular fitness but also expel stale air from your lungs and tissues. It also helps to improve muscle contractions, blood circulation and general relaxation. Remember how you felt that last time you were “weak with laughter”? Laughing is also known for triggering the release of endorphins which are nature’s pain killers and as potent as any drug.

The evidence is no laughing matter!

But even more than that, laughter can prevent stress building up by stopping the release of stress hormones which can have damaging effects on the body. Researchers at the Loma Linda University performed a study in which they found that simply by anticipating a good laugh, people’s bodies will already start producing anti-ageing hormones, such as the powerful Human Growth hormone. The results showed that levels of Human Growth hormone increased by 87% and the amount of endorphins released increased by 27% - all because people simply thought about watching a funny video.

Further studies found that people who experienced an hour or two of laughter experienced a drop in the stress hormones: cortisol, dopac (byproduct of dopamine) and adrenaline…some by as much as 40 – 70%! Laughter was also found to increase the levels of T-lymphocytes, which are your body’s natural infection-fighting cells.

Laugh your way to a ‘younger you’

Laughter is a fantastic way to fight ageing – it requires no special equipment or skill and is free and easy to take part in. It also makes you feel good so that you’re inclined to do it again. Laughter also encourages a more positive outlook as everything focuses outward when you laugh – leading to a healthier mental state. In fact, a sense of humour is one of the key ingredients to understanding and meeting life’s many challenges. Even just being able to see the funny side of a situation and smile wryly can enhance your immune response under stress.

So the next time you’re considering options in your fight against ageing, think about watching a funny movie, reading a joke or a humorous book – or even just talking over a funny situation with friends and family. A daily dose of humour can not only protect your health but may be the best anti-ageing medicine you can take!

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