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5 Reasons Why Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine

Is laughter really the best medicine? We have 5 reasons that show that it could be as beneficial to your health as regular exercise and a proper diet.

 Two women laughing while taking selfie 

Need a pick-me-up? Try watching something funny or doing something fun with your friends. Laughter is a quick mood booster and is great for your overall health. Here are five reasons why laughter really is the best medicine:

Stress relief

Laughter creates a stress-relieving effect and can also make you feel uplifted or fulfilled. Researchers have found that laughter reduces the three stress hormones: Cortisol, epinephrine, and dopamine. Dr. Lee Berk, an associate professor at Loma Linda University and the study’s team lead said, “…seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh does a lot to our physiology to stay well,” because laughter can shut down the release of these stress hormones.

Better immunity

According to Berk, laughter is linked to health benefits such as improved blood flow and lower levels of inflammation. Other research from Western Kentucky University has linked laughter with a boost in immunity, thanks to an increased number of natural killer cells which help to attack disease.

A coping mechanism

Laughter in the time of hardship almost always creates positive results. Studies show that 50% of cancer patients use humor as a type of therapy.* One cancer survivor said that during his treatment, “Anger, depression, and denial took a little piece of me with them. Yet laughter made me more open to ideas, more inviting to others, and even a little stronger inside.”

Pain relief

Can you laugh the pain away? Swiss researchers report that laughter and humor can increase pain tolerance—likely because of the release of endorphins that help relieve muscular tension. Laughter can also be a good distraction from pain and illness.

Quality of life

Laughter is a social activity and there are definite benefits to spending time with friends and family—it makes us feel better and gives us a boost. According to WebMD, regardless if laughter has proven health benefits, it will surely improve your happiness and quality of life.

Related post: What Happy People Know

Marc Potter, LCSW at Intermountain Healthcare said, “The rumor you’ve heard is true—laughing when you aren’t happy will definitely lift your mood. Practicing laughter and smiling can have measurable benefits.”

Ever heard of laughter yoga? You can try this 10-minute session on your own or with friends. You may be surprised just how contagious the laughter is. Potter added, “Laughter is a skill—a skill that can be developed. Try laughter yoga with a friend; it’s fun!”

Though laughter isn’t a cure all, it doesn’t have any negative side effects, improves healing, and reduces stress—so shouldn’t we try and laugh more often? Along with a balanced diet and regular exercise, laughter is a wonderful and fun way to enhance your health.

*Laughter is not a replacement for proven and accepted therapies.

 


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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Sandy Patton

Sandy is a Marketing Communications Specialist and has been with SelectHealth for 15 years. Her prior roles include health education and wellness coaching.