Laughter…the bible says its good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Is this just a metaphor, or is there scientific evidence to support this idea? Think about the last time you laughed – maybe a friend told a good joke, or your child did something that hit your funny bone. Recent research has demonstrated that when we laugh our immune system is strengthened, our mood is boosted, pain levels diminish, and stress levels decrease1. Sounds like good medicine to me!
Here are just a few more of the positive benefits of having a good belly laugh:
Laughter relaxes the whole body: a good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes 2.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart: it improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Laughter burns calories: It’s not a replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
Laughter may even help you to live longer: one study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer3.
Each week, we put science to the test at our counselling office. On “Funny Fridays”, our team members meet for prayer and start this time by sharing a good joke, funny story, or humorous event from our personal lives. Laughter is important, especially when we deal with such serious issues the majority of the time.
Why don’t you join us in putting science to the test and come to our upcoming Spring Fundraiser with comedian and humorist, Phil Callaway?! Phil has this to say about laughter: “In the darkest of times, laughter helps revolutionize our perspective.”
Join us for some good medicine as Phil speaks on the topic: “Learning to Laugh Again!” For event details and ticket information, click here.
Executive Director and Registered Psychologist