Laughter can help us enjoy each day to its fullest, overcome obstacles with grace, and spend less time at the doctor’s office. Let’s take a deeper look at why laughter is the best medicine.
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” – Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
The ability to laugh easily and frequently has an immense power to heal your body and mind. When shared, laughter cultivates deeper connections, happiness, and intimacy. Laughter is the best medicine because it naturally triggers healthy physical, mental, and emotional changes with long-lasting positive effects.
Even Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Humor is a cheerful expression, a fire that burns within but can be stoked by other people and things. A sense of humor strengthens the immune system, boosts energy, diminishes pain, wards off stress, and enhances overall well-being. It’s quite difficult to feel angry, anxious, or sad while you’re laughing. In this way, laughter helps us to relax and refocus, shifting our perspective to see situations in a less threatening light.
Even better: Laughter is fun, free, and feels good.
Mend your body, mind, and spirit with a healthy dose of humor, and a healthy sense of humor.
How Humor Heals
The mind and body share a strong bond, and thanks to this intrinsic mind-body connection, laughing can tell your brain to produce chemicals that have a positive impact on physical, intellectual, and emotional functioning.
Here are nine reasons why laughter is the best medicine, from a great PsychCentral.com article:
1. Humor combats fear. Humor dissolves fear by offering you a playful perspective through which you can remove yourself from worry and doubt. It breaks the ice and opens the gates for new relationships to be forged.
2. Humor comforts. In uncomfortable or scary situations, a good chuckle is a reminder that everything is going to be okay.
3. Humor relaxes. Laughter is exercise that works against chronic stress by relieving muscle tension and allowing the nervous system to shift out of high gear.
4. Humor reduces pain. Our bodies produce pain-killing hormones called endorphins in response to laughter. Many hospitals try to instill the importance of laughter in their patients, because it lessens perceived pain and stimulates healing.
5. Humor boosts the immune system. Weaving a thread of humor in your situation can literally help you overcome what you’re facing. Watching a humorous video, and simply anticipating the laughter that will come, has been shown to boost health-protecting hormones and chemicals.
6. Humor reduces stress. Research has shown that being exposed to a humorous event and, again, even anticipating a humorous event, reduces detrimental stress hormones.
7. Humor spreads happiness. Laughter is contagious, and I find that it’s really difficult to not want to laugh when I hear someone else laughing. No wonder there are such things as laughter clubs and laughing yoga classes.
8. Humor cultivates optimism. Like gratitude, humor nurtures an optimistic outlook. Turning a painful memory or a present issue into an opportunity to laugh facilitates not only healing, but a lingering positive attitude.
9. Humor helps communication. Humor has the power to dissolve arguments and express truths with a lighthearted approach.
In short, laughter is good for the body, mind, and soul.
Laughter is even used as a therapeutic tool to promote overall health and wellness, relieve physical and emotional stress, reduce pain, and improve quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses.
Known as laughter therapy, or humor therapy, this happy medicine has been shown to induce positive physical changes and contribute to the overall healing process for those living with cancer. Laughter therapy is known for helping to:
- Boost the immune system and circulatory system
- Enhance oxygen intake
- Stimulate the heart and lungs
- Relax muscles
- Trigger the release of endorphins
- Ease digestion
- Relieve pain
- Balance blood pressure
- Improve alertness, memory, and creativity
- Improve overall attitude
- Reduce stress/tension
- Promote relaxation
- Improve sleep
- Enhance quality of life
- Strengthen social bonds and relationships
- Produce a general sense of well-being
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Spend time with people who make you laugh. Spend time with children. Go to the zoo or play with your pets. Surround yourself with humor, which can be found in books, movies, videos, comedy shows, funny pictures of friends and loved ones, jokes, cartoons, toys, games, silly conversations, spontaneous adventures–nearly anything!
- How has humor changed the way you experienced your circumstances?
- What and who helps you to keep laughing?
- What benefits have you experienced through laughter?
Share your own reasons why laughter is the best medicine–your experiences, advice, funny moments, or happy thoughts–with me in the comments.
Share this with someone who appreciates a good laugh.
Free botanical graphic by Angie Makes; lettering by Aim Happy.