Can you laugh your love handles off or shag yourself skinny? I know, it sounds too good to be true. And quite frankly it sounds more Cosmo than Care2, but according to a study about laughter, and a separately-authored book about sex and dieting, the answer is “yes, oh yes!” So what if french fries and ice cream are bad for you…if sex and laughter are good? Nature may not be so cruel after all. Amen.
Laugh and Lose
Laughter experts Dr. Lee S. Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan have discovered that laughing helps maximize many functions of various body systems. Berk and his colleagues were the first to establish that laughter helps optimize the hormones in the endocrine system, including decreasing the levels of cortisol and epinephrine, which lead to stress reduction. They have also shown that laughter has a positive effect on modulating components of the immune system.
Their studies have shown that repetitious “mirthful laughter,” causes the body to respond in a way similar to moderate physical exercise. Mirthful laughter enhances your mood, decreases stress hormones, enhances immune activity, lowers bad cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
Berk, along with his colleague Dr. Jerry Petrofsky at Loma Linda University, and their team recently completed a new study on laughter and appetite, which was presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, CA.