On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with comedienne Cherie Nettles about how laughter truly is the best medicine, even in a health crisis. There were several times just in that episode that Cherie got us laughing, so you don’t want to miss it…especially after reading this post! Listen to the episode here: Laughter is the Best Medicine Even in a Health Crisis! – Episode 221.
We’ve all heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine, but why? I’m going to share 16 benefits of laughter with you today.
Laughter has long been thought to have medicinal properties, and recent research has borne out some of those claims. Laughter has been shown to improve heart health, relieve pain, and even boost immunity.
The Science of Laughter
The science of laughter is a field of study that explores the physiologic, psychological, and social benefits of laughter. The study of laughter began in the early 1800s with the work of French physician Guillaume Duchenne de Boulogne, who identified the different types of smiles and described the muscle movements involved in producing them. In the late 1800s, German physician Wilhelm Griesinger proposed that laughter is a reflex of the brainstem, and American psychologist William James suggested that laughter is a social signal.
In the early 1900s, researchers began to investigate the physiologic effects of laughter. One study found that laughter increases the heart rate and blood pressure. Laughter has also been shown to improve the immune system, decrease stress hormones, and increase endorphins. The psychological benefits of laughter are also well-documented. Laughter has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. It can also increase self-esteem and reduce negative thinking.
Laughter also has important social benefits. It helps us bond with others and can be used as a tool for social influence. Laughter is contagious, and even fake laughter can have positive effects.
So why do we laugh? It turns out that there is no one answer to this question. Laughter is a complex behavior that likely has multiple functions. It is clear, however, that laughter is beneficial to our physical and mental health and our social lives.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doth good like a medicine.” In what ways does laughter act like medicine?
1. Laughter Improves Your Mood
It’s no secret that laughter feels good. In addition to being a natural mood booster, laughter has all sorts of other benefits for your health. So why does laughter have such a positive effect on our mood? One reason is that it helps to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers. Laughter also relaxes the whole body and can reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
In addition to the physical benefits, laughter also has some powerful psychological benefits. It can help to increase our sense of well-being, reduce stress, and even improve our relationships. Laughter is a great way to connect with other people and can even help to diffuse difficult situations.
So next time you’re feeling down, try to find something to laugh about. It might just be the best medicine for what ails you.
2. Laughter Relieves Stress
Laughter is a great way to relieve stress. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects. As I mentioned, laughter also decreases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Laughter also diverts our attention and reminds our brain what it feels like to experience pleasure rather than stress. This can lead to a host of health benefits, such as a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, and a healthier heart.
So next time you’re feeling stressed, try to find something to laugh about. Watch a funny movie, read a humorous book, or hang out with friends who make you laugh. You’ll be glad you did!
3. Laughter Boosts Your Immune System
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but did you know that it actually boosts your immune system? Studies have shown that laughter can increase the number of immune cells in your body and help you fight off infection.
So, next time you’re feeling under the weather, be sure to watch your favorite comedy or sitcom. It’s not only good for a few laughs, but it could actually help you get better faster.
4. Laughter Boosts Your Cardiovascular Function
When it comes to maintaining a healthy heart, laughter may be the best medicine. That’s because laughter boosts your cardiovascular function. A good laugh can increase your heart rate and blood flow, and it also helps reduce stress hormones. All of these benefits can help keep your heart healthy.
So next time you’re feeling stressed, take a break and watch a funny movie or TV show. Or better yet, spend time with friends and family and let the laughter flow. Your heart will thank you for it.
5. Laughter lowers blood pressure.
New research suggests that laughter may also help to lower your blood pressure. In a recent study, researchers found that people who laughed more had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t laugh as much. The study was small, but the results were significant.
The researchers believe that laughter may help to lower blood pressure by increasing the activity of the “relaxation response.” This is the body’s natural way of lowering stress levels. When the relaxation response is activated, the heart rate slows and blood pressure decreases.
So, if you’re looking for a way to lower your blood pressure, you may want to try laughter. It’s free, it’s fun, and it just might help you stay healthy.
6. Laughter Reduces Pain
When it comes to pain, laughter really is the best medicine. Studies have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, whether it’s physical or emotional. One study found that people who watched a funny movie experienced less pain when they had their hand dipped in ice water than those who didn’t watch a movie. Other research has shown that laughter can help reduce pain from conditions like arthritis, headaches, and even menstrual cramps.
7. Laughter Gives You an Energy Boost
When you laugh, it doesn’t just feel good. It also gives you an energy boost. That’s because laughter is a physical activity that requires energy. When you laugh, your muscles contract and your heart rate and blood pressure increase. This physical activity burns calories and increases your oxygen intake. All of this adds up to an energy boost.
8. Laughter improves your brain function.
It’s no secret that laughter feels good. But did you know that it also has some pretty amazing benefits for your brain? That’s right, laughter can actually improve your brain function!
Studies have shown that laughter can help improve memory, increase focus, and even reduce stress and anxiety. Laughter has also been shown to boost immune function and help protect the brain from age-related damage.
9. Laughter helps you burn calories.
Laughter can also help you burn calories. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can help you burn up to 40 calories. So how does laughter help you burn calories? When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to boost your mood and increase your pain tolerance. Laughter also helps to increase your heart rate and breathing, which gives your metabolism a small boost.
So next time you’re feeling down, try to find something to laugh about. It just might help you slim down too!
10. Laughter Connects You With Others
Laughter is one of the most universal forms of communication. It is a way to show you are happy, amused, or enjoying yourself. Laughter can also be a way to show you are enjoying the company of others.
Laughter can help you connect with others. When you laugh, it releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. This can help you feel more positive and connected to those around you. Laughter can also help you build bonds with others. When you share a laugh with someone, it can create a feeling of closeness and connection.
11. Laughter protects you from the harmful effects of stress.
Stress is a common experience in today’s fast-paced world. While some stress is normal and even necessary, too much stress can be harmful to our physical and mental health. One of the best ways to cope with stress is to laugh. Laughter is a great way to distract ourselves from stressful thoughts and situations. When we laugh, we focus on positive emotions and release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects that mitigates the harmful effects of stress.
12. Laughter Makes You More Productive
Laughter has been shown to boost productivity in the workplace. A study by the University of California, Irvine found that employees who took breaks to laugh were more productive than those who didn’t. The study found that laughter increased focus, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills.
13. Laughter Helps You Live Longer
We all know that laughter is the best medicine, but did you know that it can actually help you live longer? That’s right, research has shown that laughter has some pretty amazing health benefits. Because laughter can help boost your immune system, increases the production of antibodies and infection-fighting cells, improves your cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow and decreasing stress hormones, overall longevity is improved.
14. Laughter makes you more attractive.
Did you know that laughter also makes you more attractive? Studies have shown that when people laugh, they appear more attractive, more approachable, and more trustworthy.
So, if you’re looking to up your attractiveness quotient, start by cracking a few jokes. Make people laugh and you’ll soon find yourself more popular than ever.
15. Laughter Is Contagious
When you hear someone laughing, it’s hard not to join in. Laughter is contagious. Have you ever been in a group of people and someone starts laughing, maybe even over something trivial or just plain silly, and before you know it the whole group is laughing. Laughter eliminates tension in a group, and people tend to be more engaged in low stress situations.
So next time you hear someone laughing, don’t hold back, join in and enjoy the benefits!
16. Laughter can help you stay positive in difficult situations.
Did you know that laughter can also help you stay positive in difficult situations? Humor has a way of lightening the mood and helping us see the silver lining in tough times. When we laugh, our bodies release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Laughter also distraction from negative thoughts and can help us view challenging situations in a more positive light.
So next time you’re feeling down, try to find the humor in your situation and let out a good laugh. It just might help you get through whatever you’re going through.
Laughter is Therapy
Laughter therapy, also known as humor therapy, uses laughter to improve mental and physical health. It is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that includes humor and playfulness as a way to increase positive emotions and reduce stress.
Laughter therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental and physical health conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain, and cardiovascular disease. It can also boost the immune system, increase endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers), and reduce stress hormones.
Laughter therapy is usually provided by a trained therapist in a group setting, although it can also be done in individual therapy sessions. The therapist will use a variety of techniques to help the group laugh, such as jokes, funny stories, and humorous videos.
If you are interested in trying laughter therapy, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it is important to find a therapist who you feel comfortable with and who has experience in providing laughter therapy. Second, be sure to tell the therapist about any health conditions you have so they can tailor the therapy to your needs. Finally, be prepared to laugh – and don’t take yourself too seriously!
It is evident that laughter has a plethora of benefits for our overall health. From reducing stress levels to improving our immune system, laughter truly is the best medicine. So next time you’re feeling down or under the weather, be sure to watch your favorite comedy or hang out with your funniest friend – it just might be the cure you need!
What is your favorite way to cheer yourself up? Share with us in the comments!
Even in times of crisis, every day can be a good day when you trust the promises of God.
Today is Going to be a Good Day
My book, Today is Going to be a Good Day: 90 Promises from God to Start Your Day Off Right is an uplifting devotional that helps you make each day a good day no matter what is going on in your life.
When life conspires to drag us down with all of its troubles, it can be hard to keep our spirits up. In times of severe illness and depression, I learned that when I stand on God’s promises, despite my circumstances, every day can be a good day.
Each reading includes Scripture, reflection, prayer, and a recommended playlist song designed to help you live out Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
For more information on the book visit: Today is Going to be a Good Day Book.