Humor and Health: Laughter’s Effect on the Body

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension image

Research has shown that laugher is beneficial to our health.  Humor has been known to improve our emotional and mental health but it also has benefits to our physical health and the prevention of chronic diseases as well.  Here are some ways that laugher help:

  • Stimulates our organs by enhancing our intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating our hearts, lungs and muscles and increasing endorphins that are released by the brain.
  • Gives our body a work out.  A hearty laugh works our stomach muscles and can burn calories equal to other abdominal exercises.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure by initially increasing our hearts rates in ways similar to a stress response but then this increase is followed by a decrease which results in a relaxed feeling.
  • Laugher decreases stress hormones and soothes tension and eases the stomach digestion and other physical symptoms of stress.
  • Improves the immune system by increasing infection fighting antibodies and increasing cell activities that are beneficial to fighting diseases such as cancer.
  • Laugher may increase the production of our bodies own painkillers.
  • Stimulates both sides of our brain to enhance learning. 
  • Increases personal satisfaction so that we are happier in our professional and personal relationships.  This satisfaction leads to greater job satisfaction and feelings of personal accomplishments.

With all these benefits of laugher, don’t forget to see the “sunny side” of situations.  Keep a few favorite comics or jokes around to remind you to smile, laugh or see the positives  when the going gets rough.