Research shows that laughter actually protects the heart. researchers don't know exactly why, but studies show that when we're stressed, the endothelium - the protective layer in our blood vessels - decreases, thus allowing cholesterol to build up in our arteries. Heartfelt laughter can lower the serum cortisol released during a stress response and can, therefore, lower the risk of hardening of the arteries.
It has also been linked to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes; it increases antibodies and killer cells in our bloodstreams, thus helping us fight off disease; and it increases blood flow.
So how do we use laughter in our daily lives? How do we turn the tide of negativity and stress that so often makes up the bulk of our days?
We simply make a choice.
Decide in your head that you're going to seek out the positive - the humor - in any given situation. Granted, not all situations warrant laughter or smiling. But the next time you see another person, anywhere, smile at him or her. Not only will you feel better, they will too; and it's fun to watch people's reactions.
Flood your mind with thoughts that make you smile - a good joke, a friends you haven't seen in a while, a great trip you once took, a goal you reached or are going to conquer - anything positive that will bring a smile to your face or make you laugh. That's half the battle; the body naturally takes over from there.
When you're confronted with a stressful situation, smiling actually reverses the stress-induced chemical response in your body. And chances are that if you smile, the situation will be diffuses before you can even think about stressing out.
In every aspect of your daily life and interaction with others, a smile goes a long way in getting people to do things you may need or want. We do make a conscious choice over what emotions we allow to flood our bodies. Laughter and smiling are natural physical responses to those emotions.
And now that you know laughter ans smiling can actually make you feel better and live a longer, healthier life, well, there's no other choice - laughter really is the best medicine.
"Laughter is an instant vacation." - Milton Berle
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