Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine
Since the 80s, we’ve known that long-term stress can negatively impact our health. If we feel anxious, angry or chronically tense, our immune system suffers.
Several years ago, researchers at Loma Linda University found that simply anticipating having a good laugh could produce health-protecting hormones. Endorphins increased 27% and human growth hormone (a top anti-aging hormone) increased a whopping 87% when people merely thought about watching a funny video. (Gee, maybe major league baseball players should be watching more Saturday Night Live!)
More recently, researchers followed up their earlier research to see if a laughter-filled hour or two could have a similar effect on stress hormones. The study, though small, found that the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and dopac (a byproduct of dopamine) dropped as much as 40 – 70%!
The Bottom Line: Protect your health with a daily dose of humor. Don’t just think of it as a time out. Realize that just anticipating having a good laugh can have a cascade of positive physiological effects on your body.