top of page

Reducing Stress & Dilating Blood Vessels

I was so fascinated with the experiment Dr. Michael Miller conducted which demonstrated the difference between our blood vessels when we laugh and when we're under stress. In his book, Heal Your Heart, he explains what happens. He was gracious to allow me to print this experiment in my latest book, Do You Work with the Living Dead? Here is what happened:

" My colleagues and I designed a study to find out the potential link between positive emotions and laughter and the ensuing beneficial effects on the vasculature. We asked 20 healthy men and women to watch clips of two movies on different days. One, the violent opening battle scene in Saving Private Ryan, would be sure to evoke a stress response; the other clip was a funny scene from Kingpin, There’s Something about Mary, or Shallow Hal. Because intense laughter is about 30 times more likely to occur in the presence of others, rather than when we’re alone, we invited each volunteer to bring along a few friends when viewing the comedies. We tested the volunteers’ vasodilatation before and after viewing each of the movie clips by constricting and releasing the brachial artery (located in the upper arm) with a blood pressure cuff and then measuring the blood vessels’ function with an ultrasound.

We found remarkable differences in blood vessel functioning depending on which movie the participants watched. Fourteen of the 20 subjects who watched the stressful drama experienced significant blood flow reduction due to vasoconstriction within 1 to 2 minutes of viewing the clip. On the other hand, 19 of the 20 subjects experienced vasodilatation and increased blood flow after laughing at the funny movie clip and again it happened quickly, within 1 to 2 minutes…. We were able to conclude that stress has a direct and immediate constricting effect on the blood vessels, while laughter has a direct and immediate dilating effect on the blood vessels. The results couldn’t have been more impressive."

So today, make it a point to laugh more so that your blood vessels can dilate. You will feel better and be happier.


Your Stress Less Coach

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page