I found this short article in Word for Today recently and it resonated with me because I love to laugh, and now I know why.
“Scientific studies reveal that people who laugh, live longer. Humour is a stress dissolver. It’s an antidote to apprehension. It’s a tranquiliser without any troubling side effects. It’s a shock absorber for the potholes of life.
Someone once asked President Abraham Lincoln how he handled the tensions of the Civil War. He said, ‘If it hadn’t been for laughter, I could not have made it.’
When you can laugh at it, you can live with it. And besides, if you learn to laugh at your problems, you will never run out of anything to laugh at!”
Even the thought of laughter helps!
Doctors realize that laughter can enhance physical and mental health. Now it seems even looking forward to laughter can be good for you.
WebMD reports that Lee Berk, MD, a University of California Irvine medical professor, and his associates have for years investigated how moods affect immune systems and illness.
They’ve found laughter has a role in fighting viruses, bacteria, cancer and heart disease. Stress can hamper your immune system; a good chuckle can help. Berk found earlier that watching a one-hour humorous video reduced stress hormone secretion and helped the immune system counter viruses and bacteria.
But there’s more: Berk now says the mere anticipation of laughing can help. He studied ten men, measured their stress signs, and told them that in about three days they would see a humorous video. In each man, spirits lifted before viewing the video.
Two days before the viewing, depression was down 51 percent, confusion 36 percent, anger 19 percent, fatigue 15 percent and tension 9 percent. Right after the viewing, depression and anger were both down 98 percent, fatigue 87 percent, confusion 75 percent and tension 61 percent.
There are many studies demonstrating the benefits of laughter
Laughter is not only a pleasurable experience but also offers several health benefits. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with laughter:
- Cardiovascular benefits: A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2017 found that laughter therapy significantly improved vascular function in patients with coronary artery disease. The researchers observed increased blood flow and improved endothelial function (the lining of blood vessels) after laughter therapy sessions.
- Pain relief: Research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences in 2011 showed that laughter increased pain tolerance in participants. The study found that laughter triggered the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers, leading to pain reduction.
- Immune system enhancement: A study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine in 2003 examined the effects of laughter on immune function. The researchers found that laughter increased the production of natural killer cells and antibodies, suggesting an improvement in immune system activity.
- Stress reduction: Numerous studies have demonstrated the stress-reducing effects of laughter. For example, a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research in 2003 examined the effects of laughter on stress hormones in healthy adults. The results showed a decrease in cortisol (a stress hormone) levels after laughter.
- Mental health benefits: A review published in the journal The Permanente Journal in 2011 summarized the existing literature on the psychological benefits of laughter. The review highlighted the positive effects of laughter on mood, anxiety, depression, and overall well-being.
- Cognitive function: A study published in the journal Aging & Mental Health in 2014 examined the effects of humour and laughter on cognitive function in older adults. The findings suggested that humour and laughter had a positive impact on cognitive performance, particularly in tasks related to attention and episodic memory.
- Social bonding: Research published in the journal Human Nature in 2017 explored the role of laughter in social bonding. The study found that laughter increased feelings of social closeness and enhanced cooperation among individuals, promoting positive social interactions and group cohesion.
- Pain perception: A study published in the journal Scandinavian Journal of Pain in 2015 investigated the effects of laughter on pain perception and pain thresholds. The results demonstrated that laughter significantly increased pain thresholds and reduced pain perception, suggesting its potential as a non-pharmacological approach for pain management.
- Respiratory health: Research published in the journal Thorax in 2006 examined the effects of laughter on lung function and respiratory symptoms in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The study showed that laughter improved lung function and reduced respiratory symptoms, highlighting its potential as a complementary therapy for individuals with respiratory conditions.
- Workplace outcomes: A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2015 examined the effects of workplace laughter on job satisfaction and performance. The findings indicated that laughter at work was associated with increased job satisfaction and creativity, as well as improved task performance and teamwork.
These studies, among others, provide scientific support for the various benefits of laughter on cognitive, social, physiological, and workplace-related outcomes. Laughter’s positive effects on these aspects of health and well-being highlight its potential as a simple and enjoyable intervention for promoting overall wellness.
We laugh every night
Julie and I have a wonderful evening routine which involves eating and watching box sets and films as we relax and chill out. However, the thing we look forward to is the final 20 minutes of our evening when we watch funny cat videos on YouTube. We love to go to bed on a positive note, but we didn’t realise the actual health benefits associated with laughter.
I make it a rule to switch off from work at 7pm and focus fully on Julie, my food and the TV. We chat, we laugh, we eat, and we watch. I don’t think about work or check my emails, etc. I have my following day already planned which means I can fully enjoy this time which I deliberately call ‘Play Time’. I am fully in the room, and I love it!
And you know what my dear deceased mother was famous for her sense of humour and her laughter, and she lived to the ripe old age of 99 even laughing the day before she passed away.
Thoughts for the week
- When was the last time you had a good laugh?
- Now that you have seen the benefits of laughter try to develop a routine of having a good laugh every day.
- If you are going through a tough time and you can’t seem to find anything to laugh at, try the funny cat/dog/idiots at work YouTube videos and see if you can laugh a bit.
- This week, see if you can start developing a laughter habit.
Well, that’s it for this week, have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.