5 Reasons Why Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine
Is laughter really the best medicine?
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:
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.
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.”
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: What Happy People Know
Marc Potter, LCSW at Intermountain Health 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.
Related: 7 Surprising Benefits of Laughing