The health benefits associated with laughter are hard to judge scientifically. However, there are still plenty of studies and my personal feelings that have helped me devise the following list. Here are 7 benefits of laughter that anyone has access to. See what you think!
7. It Can Help You Sleep Better at Night
Norman Cousin wrote a memoir where he discussed his own experience with the benefits of laughter. He was diagnosed with a spine condition that was extremely painful. He found that watching a series of comedies that kept him laughing for at least 10 minutes allowed him to sleep for a couple of hours without pain.
6. It Makes You Feel Good All over
I have yet to feel crummy after a fit of laughter. Have you? I find that laughing makes me feel happier, livelier, and more positive about everything. My husband is very good at making me laugh, which I find is a very useful thing. My days seem to go much smoother when I have at least a chuckle about something.
5. Blood Sugar Levels Are Lowered
This benefit is great news for diabetics. A study was performed on a small group of 19 people. The study included feeding the people a meal and then having them attend a serious lecture right after. The same group was fed the exact same meal the next day and then instructed to watch a comedy. The surprising results were that the blood sugar levels of the entire group were lower after watching the comedy than they were after the tedious lecture.
4. Normal Blood Flow is Maintained
Have you ever watched a drama or a horror movie and found yourself clutching the couch or the arm of the person next to you? Not only does your body tense up in this type of situation, but your blood vessels do as well. People who were studied when watching a comedy were able to maintain proper blood flow as opposed to the individuals whose vessels constricted during the viewing of a dramatic flick.
3. Calories Are Burned
A study was done to measure the amount of calories burned when a person laughs. Of course, a stifled giggle doesn’t count. This study was performed on concentrated laughter, so you’ll need to find a way to keep the laughing going for 10 to 15 minutes. In this amount of time, you are supposed to be able to burn around 50 calories.
2. It Provides a Mini Workout
Laughing increases your heart rate, blood pressure levels rise, face muscles are stretched, and more oxygen is sent to tissues in the body. I always feel better after a good laugh, sometimes just as good as I do when I return from walking the dog. There was a study done on laughter and one result was that a minute of hearty laughter was equal to 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Since I always seem to be pressed for time and I don’t have a rowing machine, a minute of hearty laughing sounds like a good workout to me.
1. Reduces Stress
An increase in stress lowers the body’s immune system. During the winter, we all know how detrimental a weak immune system can be. Maybe that’s why I seem to be drawn more to things that make me laugh in the winter. Laughing raises a number of antibodies in the body that are able to help fight infection and it also boosts the number of immune cells.
Do you think there are actual health benefits to laughter or do you feel it has more to do with the situation in which the laughter is taking place? Some skeptics believe that the health benefits aren’t coming from laughing but from a person’s surroundings instead. Who knows, maybe it’s a perfect combination of both.
Top Photo Credit: Grace and Lily!