Can laughter really help us heal? Anecdotal evidence and some studies seem to point in that direction. Scientists are still investigating, but why wait for them to figure it out? Just yuck it up. It certainly cannot hurt.
Laughter is a powerful coping mechanism that you rely on when you need to lighten your mood. The health benefits associated with laughter are also convincing enough to give this free treatment a try.
Researchers have found that laughter may:
- Bolster the immune system
- Lower stress hormones
- Decrease pain
- Relax muscles
- Prevent heart disease
- Lessen fear and anxiety
If you're looking for ways to start laughing it up, consider these methods:
- Pickup a joke book or collection of funny essays
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
- Share a good joke or funny story
- Make time for fun activities, such as playing miniature golf
- Go to a comedy club
- Put together some quotes or photos that make you smile and post them where you can see them
- Keep a funny audio book in the car and listen to it while you are stuck in traffic
- Watch or listen to a comedy
So, the next time you feel ill, add a little laughter to your treatment plan. It may help ease your pain.
Create joy and satisfaction. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/create-joy-and-satisfaction. Accessed October 23, 2014.
Laughter is the best medicine. HelpGuide.org website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm. Accessed October 23, 2014.
Last reviewed October 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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