Sunday, June 26, 2016
Laughter is the BEST medicine
Have you ever heard the age old saying, “laughter is the best medicine?” oh I’m sure you have at some point in your life. Well did you know that there are actually some health benefits from laughing? Seriously, don’t laugh it off (pun intended) it’s true, a University of Maryland study found that a sense of humor can protect against heart disease. Another study by Loma Linda University looked at 20 healthy older adults in their 60s and 70s, measuring their stress levels and short-term memory.1 When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughing can reduce stress levels and provide short-term and long term benefits.2
For those who I have not had the pleasure to meet or grace you with my laugh, I’ll go ahead and inform you that I have a very unique laugh. You can hear me from miles away, I joke, but no it’s true. I have a pretty loud, unique, funny, and at times obnoxious laugh. You can often hear me laughing from Tarleton’s Kinesiology Department in Laboratory for Wellness and Motor Behavior (LWMB) while I’m working, in class, or during Dr. Sadler’s Speaker Series while Mr. Chad Henning’s was giving his presentation…yes that was me. What can I say folks, I try to enjoy life and laugh every chance I can. I know at times I can be too much, but I can’t change my laugh I can only try to contain it, but even then I still end up being loud. It is normal for me to get ugly looks and rude remarks every time I laugh, but I love my laugh and embrace it any chance I can. It also doesn’t take much to make me laugh either and after all who doesn’t enjoy a good chuckle every now and then?
The Loma Linda University study asked one group to sit silently, no talking, reading, or using their cellphones while the other group watched funny videos. After 20 minutes, the participants gave saliva samples and took a short memory test. While both groups performed better after the break than before, the “humor group” performed significantly better when it came to memory recall. The participants who viewed the funny videos had much high improvement in recall abilities, 43.6% compared with 20.3% in the non-humor group. Additionally, the humor group showed considerably lower levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” after watching the videos. The non-humor group’s stress level decreased just slightly.1
Well there you have it folks, there are several other benefits to humor and laughter. So laugh often and do not ever be ashamed of your laugh, we are all made individually unique. As Dr. Bains, co-author of the Loma Linda University said, “as an older adult, you will face age associated memory deficits, but humor and laughter can be integrated into a whole person wellness plan that can translate into improvements in your quality of life: mood, body, and spirit.”1 In my next blog, I will go further into detail about other health benefits from laughter.
Shah., Y. (2014, April 22). New study proves that laughter really is the best medicine. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/laughter-and-memory_n_5192086.html
Mayo Clinic. (2016, April 16). Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456