Could humor be good for your health? Some say yes, others say no, and as of right now, there are no definitive studies to prove either school of thought. However, there are some physiological changes that do take place in the body when we laugh, and these could be good for your health:
- Muscles stretch- When we laugh we stretch muscles in our face and body.
- Calories burn- Laughing for 10-15 minutes can burn 50 calories.
- Tissues get more oxygen- We breathe faster when we laugh, which sends more oxygen to tissue.
- Immune response increases- Humor usually reduces stress, and raises immune response with higher levels of infection-fighting antibodies.
- Blood sugar could lower- One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture. (http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter)
- Pain tolerance increases. (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/humor-sapiens/201202/can-humor-and-laughter-boost-your-health)
- As good as exercise. William Fry, a researcher in laughter health, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter. So that could be amazing! Laughter can be similar to a mild workout in its effect on the body. But don’t skip the gym just yet, you would have to laugh for 12 straight hours to lose just one pound.
So there could be some real positives to using laughter. But there might be some drawbacks too. For example, a higher sense of humor could lead to not taking life seriously. Which can lead to greater chance of problems like alcoholism, drug abuse, not treating symptoms, etc. Honestly who knows? But the truth is, even without the health benefits, I want to spend the rest of my days laughing so I will take my chances.