Putting the fun back into life just might mean you'll live longer because laughter seems to be the spoonful of sugar and the medicine all in one!
A study at Loma Linda University in California found that laughing is more than just fun, it’s important to your health. They found that, among other benefits, laughing reduces stress hormones, boosts your immune system, releases endorphins that diminish pain, lowers blood pressure, and decreases blood sugar in diabetics.
Laughter has been found to exercise the heart muscle and diaphragm, increasing your ability to utilize oxygen better; in fact some have termed it “internal jogging”. Additionally, unlike prescription medication that attempts to accomplish the same thing, there are no known negative side effects.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that approximately “85% of all illnesses are curable by the body’s own healing system.” It has been noted that positive emotions, including laughing, positively impact the body’s ability to heal. Conversely, negative emotions like sadness, hate, anxiety, and depression detract from the immune response. When you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, it may be helpful to ask yourself “Is it that bad? Is it worth getting upset over? Is it that important?” If you find yourself where it’s not appropriate to laugh out loud, just know that a smile is a silent mini-laugh.
A research study done at Johns Hopkins University found that humor during classroom instruction led to improved test scores. It was noted that there was increased attention, alertness, and memory, as well as improved creativity. If I would have realized that, I would have chuckled my way through Physics class.
Josh Billings wisely quipped “There ain’t much fun in medicine, but there’s a heck of a lot of medicine in fun”. In other familiar words, laughter truly is the best medicine.
Socially speaking, the reality is nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer. If we all laughed a lot, like we did when we were kids, there would almost certainly be less fighting, less arguing, less divorce, probably no road rage, and it’s hard to have a war when you’re giggling. We all know about the “fight or flight response”. The healthier choice is the “Laughter response”.
So take this advice: Watch a funny movie, associate with fun people, play with children, crack a joke, play games, don’t take yourself too seriously, and grin.