The mind-heart connection
Mental stress causes blood vessels to seize up in alarm. The narrowing of the blood vessels, restricts the amount of blood flowing through the vessel. Vasoconstriction bumps up the pressure in the pipes, ultimately putting strain on the heart.
A good laugh does the opposite.
The heart goes to the movies
Healthy volunteers were ushered into the “movie house” for a little entertainment. This movie house didn’t have the plush chairs able to hold the popcorn and coke, instead the seat was a flat bed in a temperature controlled room. The ticket included the show, plus a barrage of blood tests, designed to measure blood vessel reactivity.
The line-up for the afternoon’s entertainment included a heavy-hearted clip, the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan” and a light-hearted clip from “King Pin”.
Both clips (15 min segments) were viewed during the movie session, although the sequence varied.
Light-hearted movie clips lighten the heart
The blood tests revealed that the movie scenes, were able to change the level of vasoconstriction in the brachial artery, for at least 30 – 45 minutes.
The blood flow took a dive, in 14 out of the 20 volunteers, following the viewing of the heavy-hearted “Private Ryan” clip. On average, blood flow decreased by 35 %.
In contrast, the light-hearted movie improved blood flow in 19 of the 20 volunteers. On average blood flow increased by 22 %.
Laughing is like an aerobic workout
Yup, if you put on the running shoes and jiggled up and down, you would get the blood flowing. The improved blood flow, which comes with a little sweat and possibly a few tears, would be around 22 %.
Schedule 15 minute laugh session into your day
It is unclear how a good chuckle works, but constrained blood vessels are at the heart of cardiovascular disease, so finding ways to unwind them, is critical for long term health.
So alongside the 30 minutes of exercise at least 3-4 times a week, pencil in a 15 minute giggle once a day.
Try different strategies to keep yourself rolling about with laughter
- watch a few u-tube clips
- listen to a comedian on the radio,
- picture you boss naked or in a drag costume or ?
- join a laughing club or take a laughter class
- find someone “special” to tickle you…..
- visit 7 Big Spoons™ each weekday to check out Alain’s cartoon
Remember the day ain’t over until the fat lady sings laughs.Laughter good for the heart – a press release from University of Maryland Medical Centre.
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