The late television personality Milton Berle knew what he was saying when he uttered, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Take yourself back to a time when you just couldn’t contain your laughter. The moment was so blissful and authentic that it could never be recreated. As great as that moment felt emotionally, it was also doing a great deal for you physically.
Yes. There are health benefits to laughing. We’re not joking. (Sorry.)
“Keeping a positive outlook and finding ways to stay light-hearted are invaluable parts of your journey to Effortless Healing. And one of the best ways to do both is to laugh.” –Joseph Mercola, Effortless Healing
As it turns out, laughing out loud is as good for us as doing a vigorous workout, which we all know by now releases mood-boosting, pain-reducing endorphins, plus gets our bods in tip-top shape. Laughter affects the body in similar ways: it helps reduce muscle tension, lowers stress hormone levels, lessens the perception of pain, and the list of benefits goes on from there. Skeptical that laughter can be that great for you? Well, here is the science to back up our claims.
For starters, Japanese researchers found that watching a funny show helped those with type 2 diabetes have significantly smaller spikes in blood sugar than those who just listened to a lecture.
A study by the University of Maryland found that laughter promotes vasodilation, or the ability for blood vessels to expand, which is equivalent to as much as 15 minutes of exercise. (Bursting out laughing sounds way more fun than hitting the treadmill, if you ask us.) And the more laughter, the better, because poor vasodilation is also associated with a greater risk for heart attacks and strokes.
In another study cited by Dr. Joseph Mercola, those who had allergies to dust mites and other common irritants had lesions that shrank after watching good ole Charlie Chaplin, compared to those who just watched weather reports which led to no change in their conditions.
“The more opportunities you give yourself to laugh, the more you’ll attract others who are also upbeat. Together you’ll inspire each other to keep a light heart, even when you’re tackling changes that seem hard at first.” –Joseph Mercola, Effortless Healing
Sure sounds like the perfect time to guiltlessly binge some comedies on Netflix, right? According to Dr. Mercola, yes, it does. “The more opportunities you give yourself to laugh, the more you’ll attract others who are also upbeat.”
With all those health benefits just waiting to be reaped by a laughing session, it’s essential that you start surrounding yourself with those who make you laugh (and like to laugh themselves). Doctor’s orders.
Illustrator: Marie Guillard