Researchers are finding that laughter might be the best medicine to help you feel better, have more energy, and be more connected to the world around you.
Laughing is something that anyone, of any age, can do. In fact, it is said that laughter is an ancient universal behavior—even chimpanzees, hyenas, and rats do it!
But to some it may seem like a far-fetched idea to compare the power of laughter to the power of a drug. To those doubters, let me explain:
First, when we laugh, our entire body changes. Our muscles are stretched throughout our body and face, our heart rate and blood pressure go up, and we receive more oxygen in our muscle tissues (this is why some people get extremely red in the face when having fits of laughter).
Second, laughter gives us the same advantages as a basic workout. Researchers have found that laughing for ten to twelve minutes can burn around fifty calories! One researcher at Vanderbilt even found that his heart rate was higher after one minute of laughing than ten minutes on a rowing machine.
Steve Wilson, a psychologist and laugh therapist, states, “I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off. They will probably be healthier too.”
So how else does laughter act as a medicine for the body? Laughter increases blood flow by opening the vessels. Laughter increase the level of immune cells to fight infection. Laughter lowers blood sugar levels. Laughter decreases the level of pain.
But is it really just laughter that leads to a healthier life?
Researchers are connecting laughter to the bigger picture in life, saying that laughter is “social, so any health benefits might really come from being close with friends and family, and not just the laughter itself.”
So is laughing the cure to living a happy life?
On July 19, 2011, the United Nations passed a resolution about happiness. Unlike others, this resolution was unanimously supported. Its main goals are as follows:
- The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental and universal human goal.
- The gross domestic product of a nation does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of its citizens
- Nations should develop measures of happiness and well-being and use them to guide their national policies.
While laughing may not directly lead to world peace or solve any universal problems, it is a good first step towards making happier citizens.
The world is a crazy and hectic place—laughing is the best, and most reliable, choice for calming the soul and enjoying your life.
For inspiration, watch the video below: