What Does Humor Have to do With Health?

Lynn Powers asked:

With April Fools day the first of the month, it’s no wonder April has been named National Humor month. Personally, I love it. Anything designed to make me laugh is fine with me! I say, bring on the humor!

Research shows that children laugh a whopping 400 times per day while the number of times adults engage in some type of laughter or humorous situation is a mere 15. No wonder Jesus told us to “be like little children.” He wants us to laugh more!

Not only is laughing just plain fun, it’s good for you! There have been many scientific reports on the benefits of laughter, but we don’t need science to tell us that. The Bible has been informing us for thousands of years. As it says in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” (NIV)

Here are some ways laughing is beneficial for both physical and mental health:

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

• It’s good for your Heart – When you laugh, you’re taking your insides for a jog. In fact, some research has shown that a good belly laugh is equivalent to several minutes on a stationary bike or rowing machine. Besides exercising your abdomen and diaphragm, you’re also giving your back and ****** muscles an aerobic workout.

• Lowers Blood Pressure. It seems that many people with high blood pressure are often tense and serious. But lightening up a bit by laughing can lower that number. This isn’t to say you should trade in your blood pressure medication for a stack of comedy DVD’s. But laughing sends oxygen enriched blood and nutrients through your system which will certainly help to bring those numbers down even more.

• Boosts Immune System. Laughter produces antibody-producing cells that help to keep you healthy. Laughing continuously during flu season, then, is a great idea!

MENTAL BENEFITS

• Relaxation. Laughing relaxes all of your muscles, releasing pent-up tension from your body. Try it after a particularly tense-filled day at work or home.

• Distraction from Pain. If you’re experiencing pain, laughter can help to take your mind off your circumstances and provide some temporary relief. In fact, it can even reduce the actual pain because laughing releases endorphins that are just as effective as equivalent doses of morphine!

• Improves Thinking Skills. When you laugh, both sides of your brain are affected. This improves comprehension and your ability to learn, which suggests that kids who laugh a lot will do better in school. Engage your child in a tickling session every evening. It just may be the thing you’re looking for to see your child’s grades improve!

• Reduces Stress. Laughter boosts serotonin which, in turn, can ward off depression and anxiety or simply help to lift your spirits and turn around a bad mood.

So the more you laugh, the healthier you’ll be and the better you’ll feel. The best part is that laughter is contagious. If you have a hard time finding things to laugh about, hang around with funny people or those who you see laughing a lot throughout the day. Soon you’ll find yourself laughing along and reaping the benefits that come with it.

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