Joyful laughter averts a broken heart
Posted on Fri, 22 Oct 10
It is well known that negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger increase heart disease risk but little is known about the effect of positive emotional states. According to a new report joyful laughter is good for your heart.
To test the whether laughter had an effect on cardiovascular function a group of healthy adults watched 30 minutes of a comedy or a documentary. “Heart rate and blood pressure increased significantly while watching the comedy, whereas no such changes were seen while watching the documentary.” The ability of blood vessels to relax – a process known as vasodilatation and important sign of good heart health – “increased significantly after watching the comedy (17%) and decreased with watching the documentary (-15%)” indicating a beneficial effect of laughter.
“These results suggest that mirthful laughter elicited by comic movies induces beneficial impact on vascular function,” commented the study investigators, and adds to evidence suggesting increased positive emotions have a protective effect against heart disease.
Sugawara J, Tarumi T, Tanaka H. Effect of mirthful laughter on vascular function. Am J Cardiol. 2010 Sep 15;106(6):856-9.
Tags: Happiness, Laughter, Heart Disease