The Health of Humor

Laughter is the best medicine?

The old adage holds some truth. But what’s the science behind the saying?

1. Laughter helps us find intimacy with others, which decreases stress and minimizes pain.

2. Laughter relaxes muscles–even 45 minutes after your chuckle!

3. Laughter boosts your immune system: It decreases stress hormones and increases antibodies to ward of diseases.

4. Laughter protects the heart by getting your blood flowing.

Laughter also improves your mental health by decreasing stress levels, dissolving unpleasant emotions, and shifting your perspective . After a good laugh, a potentially stressful situation can seem much more manageable. A shared laugh can produce an intimacy with others that creates positive memories and strengthens relationships. Sharing a laugh can also minimize the effects of grudges, disagreements, and differences.

So how can you increase the amount of laughter in your life?

Try:

  • smiling
  • seeking out positive people–and stay away from the negative ones!
  • at the end of the day, make a list of positive things that have happened to you
  • invite humor into your conversations by asking others about a funny thing that has happened to them or to share an amusing story
  • enjoy the little things in life, such as spending the day with a child or swinging on a swing
About the author