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Laugh off your anxiety

September 21, 2012

There’s nothing worse than being depressed or anxious and being told “you just need to have a more positive outlook”, or the old favourite “cheer up it might never happen”.

When you’re feeling depressed or anxious, as far as your brain is concerned, the worst has already happened!

However, there is evidence emerging to show that laughter, while perhaps not always the best medicine, should certainly be in your cabinet.  From Everyday Health:

Recent research from the University Of Maryland School of Medicine presented at the 2011 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) annual conference found a link between mental stress and the narrowing of blood vessels, which can restrict blood flow and lead to atherosclerosis. Laughter, however, had the opposite effect.

For the study, participants watched segments of a funny movie, like “There’s Something About Mary” on one day and a stressful movie such as “Saving Private Ryan” on another day. The stressful film caused vasoconstriction, or narrowing of the blood vessels, while the comedy caused the vessels to expand.

If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, this is one more good reason to ditch that serious drama you were planning on watching this weekend and make time for something light and fluffy.  Rent a video or watch a movie that you know is going to make you laugh – or even better, do it with a friend or your partner.


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