How Funny! Laughter Makes You Live Longer

by Myla Cruz

In Z Living's compelling show Change The Day You Die, people living unhealthy lives connect with nutritionist Adam Carey, who advises them how to change the way they live in order to change the day they'll die. We're highlighting health news that can help anyone live a longer, healthier life.

Each day, millions of people engage in a variety of practices to achieve longer lives — like taking nutritional supplements, exercising regularly, and maintaining a balanced diet. While all of these practices are still fantastic ways to boost your longevity, research shows it's also healthy to flip on your favorite comedy show or hang out with your funniest friend ... and just laugh your head off. 

Also on Z Living:  You Can ‘Change the Day You Die’ by Sitting Less, Moving More

The Postive Effects of a Good Belly Laugh

The Mayo Clinic points out that laughter stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation — both of which can help ease the physical symptoms of stress. A few giggles can improve your immune system by helping dismiss negative thoughts, which manifest into chemical reactions that wear on the body. Positive thoughts and laughter actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and various serious illnesses. 

Other studies have shown the wide-reaching health benefits of laughter. A University of Maryland study found that a sense of humor can actually protect individuals from heart attacks and heart disease. Additionally, a 2014, study published in the journal Advancements in Mind Body Medicine found that humor actually improves short-term memory. 

Also on Z Living:  You Can ‘Change the Day You Die’ With Brain Games

Laugh Long, Laugh Hard — You'll Likely Remember It!

Looking at more immediate benefits, researchers at California’s Loma Linda University executed a study that looked at 20 healthy older adults in their 60s and 70s, measuring their stress levels and short-term memory. Participants were broken into two groups: one which was asked to sit silently, while another group watched funny videos.

After 20 minutes, the participants gave saliva samples and took a short memory test. While both groups performed better after the break than before, the “humor group” performed significantly better when it came to memory recall. Moreover, the humor group showed lower levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — after the experiment. The non-humor group’s stress levels were not as low. 

WATCH on Z Living: Change The Day You Die, where each week, one lucky person will get the chance to rewrite their future and start living a much healthier life. See a sneak peek here.

Tell us in the comments: How will you infuse humor and laughter into your day?

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