The European Society of Cardiology 2011 Congress met at the end of August to highlight the role of laughter, positive thinking, anger and job stress on developing cardiovascular events. The research showed "that anger and job stress are linked to higher cardiovascular event rates, while laughter and cognitive behavior therapy can lower the risk."
Dr Michael Miller (University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore) was examining the link with positive effects that laughter has on our vasculature. "What we've done in our study is to really promote laughter by showing movies, or segments from Saturday Night Live and other things, to really make people laugh. We appreciate that when we get a good sustained belly laugh, we feel good. That's the point of this--if we feel good, and not just go, 'ha ha,' but get a good belly laugh, does this translate into changes in vascular function?"
The study showed the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan which a very intense scene and looked at how the vessels responding. They constricted by as much as 30 to 50%, however when comedies were shown our body's responded with vasodilation. It was also seen that vasoconstrictions and vasodilation occur quickly in the body.
"Miller said the vasoconstrictive and vasodilative effects lasted for about an hour, although other researchers have seen the benefits of laughter on vascular function extended to 24 hours. He added that the magnitude of change in the blood vessel is similar to the effects observed with statins and physical activity. ‘We think that the effect is fairly long lasting, considering you're only laughing for about 10 or 15 minutes,' said Miller."
Let's all work on our heart health. Lets watch funny shows while we are exercising or even check out a local laughter yoga class. If you cannot do either of these find someone at work or in your life that you can laugh with. Get the deep belly laughs, laugh until you cry, just laugh. Laugh with your family and friends to keep everyone heart healthy! Come on laugh right now!
"You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing." - Michael Pritchard