8 Health Benefits of Laughter

Is there anything better than a contagious giggle that you absolutely can’t control? (Ok, maybe not so good in school or church.) Laughter works wonderfully well in the moment, but it also has some surprising long-term health benefits. In the book A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits (Conari Press, 2009), author Sondra Kornblatt explores how laughter can truly make you feel better.

She writes that the new field of gelotology is exploring the benefits of laughter. It was brought to the public’s awareness in Norman Cousins’ memoir Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins found that comedies, like those of the Marx Brothers, helped him feel better and get some pain-free sleep. That’s because laughter helps the pituitary gland release its own pain-suppressing opiates.

What can laughter do?:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
  • Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
  • Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
  • Improve alertness, creativity, and memory

Humor and creativity work in similar ways, says humor guru William Fry, M.D., of Stanford University–by creating relationships between two disconnected items, you engage the whole brain.

Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.

So let’s laugh. What makes you laugh? Tell us your favorite funny movie, or how about a good joke?

Related:
Lose Weight With Sex & Laughter
5 Yoga Poses That Combat Depression
6 Health Benefits of Having a Pet

832 comments

W. C
W. C2 months ago

Thank you.

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Ajay P
Ajay P4 months ago

let’s laugh))

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Sarah H
Sarah Hill6 months ago

thanks

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Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jennifer F
Jennifer F7 months ago

I love to laugh! I love to hear others laugh because then that makes me laugh! Great article to read again!

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran7 months ago

noted

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Anna Ballinger
Anna Ballinger7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Philip Watling
Philip Watling8 months ago

Q. What do you call a fly with no wings?
A. A walk!

I laugh a lot; why is my memory so bad?

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