We’ve all heard the saying, “laughter is medicine”, but is it really true? According to actual human studies, it is! In addition to relaxing the body and releasing feel-good endorphins, laughter appears to be a powerful influencer on the immune system.
While there are several studies looking at how laughter can keep us healthy, one study in particular, looked at the effects of watching a humorous video on the immune system. Blood markers were measured before, during and after. The results — after watching for an hour, the human body produced an increase in what are called natural killer cells (cells innate to keeping the immune system functional and healthy). This increase lasted for 12 hours. That’s pretty cool if you ask me!
10 Reasons Laughter is Medicine
med·i·cine noun \ˈme-də-sən a : a substance or preparation used in treating disease b : something that affects well-being
1. Boosts Immunity 2. Lowers Stress Hormones 3. Decreases Pain 4. Increases Life Satisfaction 5. Eases Fear and Anxiety 6. Improves Mood 7. Enhances Resilience 8. Diffuses Conflict 9. Strengthens Relationships 10. Attracts us to Others
If you are looking for creative opportunities to laugh, here are a few things Tom and I do to get us giggling…
Watch a funny movie or TV show
We are in love with Melissa McCarthy right now. We have watched every one of the movies she has starred in. When we need a good belly laugh we watch them again.
Go to a comedy club
One of our favorite TV sitcoms was Whitney. It only aired two seasons but Tom and I found it hilarious. Whitney was recently doing a stand-up here in Minneapolis it wasn’t as funny as we hoped, but we got our money’s worth. Our favorite stand-up performance ever was actually on a cruise. We had tears rolling down our cheeks the entire 30 minutes.
Seek out funny people
To be perfectly honest, Tom and I are both quite serious people. We are not jokester or comics. But we love hanging with people who are. If this is you, give us a call, we’d love to hang out.
Do something silly
I recently got a new computer. My very first Mac. There is an app on it called Photo Booth — it’s how I took the silly picture above. I started playing with it on the couch laughing hysterically. I had to beg Tom to participate. Literally. Once he did, we laughed the hardest we had laughed in a very long time. My son said I sounded like a hyena.
Laughter is both infectious and contagious, probably even more so then the sniffles and sneezing of your co-worker. When someone laughs others want in on the joke. It binds people together and makes us happy. Laughter decreases stress and can dissolve conflict. I don’t know of any pill that can do that.