The million dollar question is, can laughing make you live longer? Is laughing really the best medicine?
Laughing is good for your health, good for everyone around you, and can make you live longer. Did you ever notice those people who laugh a lot usually have a lot of friends? It is because laughing is contagious and it’s healthy to be around people who are very positive in such a negative world.
Laughing improves the function of the blood vessels and increases the blood flow in your body. Anytime blood flow is increased throughout the body can help you prevent a heart attack, and can be a preventative for heart attacks. Laughing can make you live longer by boosting your immune system. Laughing is good for our mental health in dealing with stress and anxiety.
Scientists do not actually know how laughing creates health benefits but they can see the effects of laughter regarding overall health and how it makes you live longer.
When we release endorphins that provide us a with a brain full of feel-good chemicals. When these chemicals are released you receive a state of peace and calm. It is also said that laughing can be a great workout, and be a good way to burn calories. The minutes of laughing can be equal to a few minutes of exercising bike. When you laugh your heart rate increases and your blood pressure is lowered.
Some of the positive effects of laughing include:
Reduce blood pressure.
Lower blood glucose.
Alleviate stress and anxiety.
Improved sense of well-being.
Help with symptoms of depression.
Experience less physical pain.
Fight deadly diseases.
Reduce inflammation in older adults.
When we laugh, a lot of our muscles move in our bodies, and blood pressure rises for a short time increasing blood flow, but shortly after laughing blood pressure drops and it is almost as if you have just worked out. This makes our breathing faster and increases the level of oxygen in our blood.
10 to 15 minutes of laughter can convert into about 50 calories burned. Did you know that it would take almost 12 hours of laughing to lose 1 pound?
Those who make are laughing their way to longer lives:
If we look at some of the famous comedians, we can see that they have lived long lives. Some of the comedians on the list include Bob Hope, who lives to 100 years old, Dick Van Dyke, Rodney Dangerfield, and Johnny Carson.
All of them have lived past their 80s. This may not be scientific evidence of the effects of laughter, but it does show a significant amount of comedians who have lived long lives. The interesting thing about these comedians is that they never use the teleprompter. Even at an old age, they still have great memory abilities. All of these comedians had a joyful attitude and had a good memory. Their brains were very healthy and sharp, having a sharp mind will keep you around for awhile! If anything, humor adds happiness to your life.
Stop and think about yourself at this moment, do you need a laugh? Release some tension and loosen up, stop taking things so seriously.
Studies on laughing and quality of life:
Dr. Stuart Brown in the 60s founded the National Institute of Play. He was very interested in the effects of laughter and ‘play’ we have in our lives. The governor of Texas in 1966 asked Dr. Brown to investigate the man who shot tons of students at the University of Texas. This man stationed at himself in the top of a tower and killed lots of people. Dr. Brown concluded that this man never played as a child and his home was very dysfunctional. Dr. Brown talked to the man and asked him if he had ever laughed a child, and the man says that he can’t remember one time when he laughed.
That same year, the governor of Texas wanted Dr. Brown to continue his investigation. So Dr. Brown took his expertise to death row. Dr. Brown interviewed all of the inmates on death row about their childhood. From the responses, he concluded that none of them had a normal childhood. During their childhood, they never experienced any fun, play, or laughter. This made Dr. Brown want to create a study about the importance of play, which leads him to conclude that the opposite of play does not work, it is depression.
There is a study came out that said that laughter is good for your brain and makes you smarter but babies laugh a lot, but they have very dumb. So be careful what you read and the context.
A person who laughs a lot is very resilient in everyday dealings of life. If you find somebody that laughs often, you can bet that they are getting through life with little to no problems. They deal with problems much differently than those people that never laugh.
Robert Provine did a study on 1200 College students on laughter. He would observe students laughing spontaneously at a college. The students would be observed in the student union and on the streets of the city. Whenever he heard laughter he first noticed the gender speaker, usually, this was the person talking immediately before the laughter happened. He noticed the audience, and those listening to the speaker. He also noted whether the speaker or the audience would laugh. He would also see what the speaker had said before everyone started laughing.
We often think of laughter as coming from a comedian. We think that’s something that has to be funny is usually a joke. After observing 1200 students it was soon recognized that the speaker was observed laughing almost 50% more than their audience. The study also shows that simple comments like, “Where have you been? Or It was nice meeting you too!” are far more likely to get a laugh than any jokes. In Provine’s study, he found out that only 10 to 20% of laughing that occurred were from actual jokes. This leads us to believe that being stimulated does not come from the joke itself but it comes from another person.
He also had students write down times in which they laughed in a journal. He didn’t want them to include such media sources as television, radio, and books. He found out the students would laugh 30 times more often in a social setting than by themselves. This concludes that when we laugh when we are usually laughing with people. We may smile when we are alone but if you’re not with other people it is harder for us to laugh because there is no audience.
It is possible to say that somebody with a very humorous personality will live longer. We think that laughing can add years to our life, but this may not be the case. It certainly can boost our social interaction, reduce stress and anxiety, help our overall health and help us to be optimistic about life.
A large study by Howard Friedman Ph.D., a professor at the University of California Riverside found out that is optimistic as an adult usually has a great sense of humor. He also concluded that childhood is a very important time when molding a person as an adult when it comes to happiness and well-being. If we were laughing and happy as children, it is most likely we are happy as adults.
Here are some benefits of laughter that will help you in your everyday life if you just start laughing and not taking everything so seriously:
Laughter doesn’t cost anything.
There is nothing better than something that can be used when it’s free. But sometimes we don’t see the value in things that are free. When we have mental struggles or issues in life, we think we need to find a magic pill. We believe that there something else that we have not obtained yet that will make us better. Most of the time things that will make us better we already have. We don’t realize the powerful effects that laughter has on us.
Laughing gives us oxygen.
Laughing gives us oxygen which releases endorphins in our brains. A short laughing can be extremely beneficial. Having a laughing session for five minutes can’t be the equivalent to a light jog on the treadmill. A brain that has been dormant with low levels of oxygen all day can be revitalized within 5 – 10 minutes of laughing session. Much like running on the treadmill laughing releases the feel-good chemical in our brain.
Laughing increases our immunity.
Usually when seasons change people start to get sick. Another time when people get sick is when they travel. A common practice is to take a lot of vitamins. Instead of taking that Emergen-C or you’re the huge multivitamin, think about just watching a funny video on YouTube and getting a good laugh. When you feel better your immunity is better.
Laughing lowers stress levels.
One of the reasons why laughing increases are immunity levels is because by laughing it is lowering our stress levels. Every day we take life too seriously, just take a step back and look at everything, is it worth getting stressed out over? If we were to take all of the issues that we have throughout the day and just laugh at half of them we will be a very happy person.
If you are interested in getting rid of stress our post on stress can be helpful.
Laughing promotes heart health.
Laughing promotes heart health because it increases the blood flow in our bodies. If we laugh on a daily basis, each time can be worth about 5 to 10 minutes of exercise. If the heart is constantly met with the stress of the body with no relief, this could be dangerous. Increased blood flow helps release stress and tension.
Laughter strengthens the core.
Would be nice if we could just laugh all day get a six-pack. But we literally would have to be laughing all day. Laughing may not get us rock hard abs but it will tone them. Just as if we exercise, the muscles in our stomach contract when we laugh.
Laughter burns calories.
Again, if we laugh we can burn calories. This will not replace our regular workout because we would have to be laughing all day. But it will give us a little boost and if we laugh for 15 minutes that can equal around 50 calories burned.
Laughter lifts mood and confidence.
When you deal with serious issues every day and do not laugh it can be tough to deal with life. The way that laughing helps us is when we have a problem, we step back from our problem and look at as if it was no big deal. Laughing helps us step away from the situation. It gains confidence because we know life isn’t as hard as it seems.
Laughing increases social interaction.
Laughter is often contagious, it is also nice to be around people who laugh. If you are very joyful and happy, people naturally want to be around you. If you are deciding what to do with your friends, you should have a good laugh beforehand. Laughing with somebody makes them like you more because they’re used to negative things all day and you lift up heir spirits.
Laughing can get you through difficult times.
We all go through difficult times, whether it’s breaking up with someone we are dating, loss of job, loss of a pet, or the death of a friend or family member. By only looking back on our situations in life, we can laugh at them. We are able to laugh and then you’ll realize that things are not as bad as we thought they once were. Step back from the situation and realize that things are not as bad as we make them out to be in our heads.
The question is still, can laughing make you live longer? A lot of laughter has to do with social interaction. The benefits laughter can be very great, There’s literally no downside to laughing. But scientifically we don’t have much evidence of how laughing helps reduce stress and pain it, it is unknown but seems to work. The most beneficial thing that comes from laughter is social interaction. Science has proven time and time again that humans need each other for interaction and laughing can be a great way to have the interaction. So why not have a good laugh today because it certainly is enjoyable!