This morning, I watched the television news with my usual disconnected “attention.” When a Hopsital Job Fair headline displayed on the screen, my eye immediately caught the “hopsital” word and I laughed and laughed. I haven’t chuckled like that for a long time. It felt good, and I know it was good for my heart.
Lately, I have been working too hard, sleeping too little, worrying too much. None of them are good for the heart. But laughter is. It gives mind and body a healthy workout. It boosts blood vessel function to improve blood flow, protecting against a heart attack and other heart disease.
Norman Cousins was a famous champion for laughter and its heart health benefits. As a professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, he studied the disease-fighting properties of positive human emotions. He advocated belly laughs for pain relief and heart healing. He was famous for “taking daily doses” of Marx Brothers movies to prepare him for restorative sleep.
Medical science has long known that hearty laughter produces endorphins, the body’s natural opioid pain relievers. As they move into the circulation, they spread relief throughout the body.
Today I plan to do my daily power walk and find something to read or watch I know will make me laugh, too. The movie My Cousin Vinny comes to mind. Every year, I try to watch it at least once to enjoy lots of laughs and a good story. Please share what causes you to laugh heartily so we can benefit from your heart health “prescription.”