Laughter truly is a great energizer for the body and mind. Several medical studies have revealed that laughter is a powerful antidote to many negative conditions including stress, pain, conflict, and anxiety. In an extensive medical study in 2005 it was shown that laughter, along with an active sense of humor, can actually help protect you against a heart attack, according to cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. “The old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” says Dr. Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology. The most significant finding in the study was that people with heart disease responded less humorously to everyday life situations. They generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility. “The ability to laugh—either naturally or as learned behavior—may have important implications in societies such as the U.S. where heart disease remains the number one killer,” says Miller.
So, if you are looking to improve your overall health, consider the following summary of benefits that come from this cheap, easy-to-use medicine that has no negative side effects:
1) Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and mental stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
2) Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter literally decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thereby improving your resistance to disease.
3) Laughter triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural feel-good chemical—they promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
4) Laughter protects the heart. A good sense of humor improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
So, no matter how difficult life may feel at times, no matter the number of problems on your plate, do your best to have a good laugh each day—and if you find yourself in a season where a genuine laugh is hard to come by, try putting a smile on your face at least once a day. Humor has a magical way of lightening our burdens, lifting our spirits, and improving our health!
(Excerpt from my book Thriving in Turbulent Times)
John's passion is in helping people get unstuck so they can experience their true potential. Before starting his own practice he spent 16 years coaching, consulting, and presenting to Fortune 500 companies, teams, and individuals on how to breakthrough their barriers and magnify their talents.