Student Life

Enjoying a Good Laugh: Nature’s Medicine

Everyone can appreciate a good joke, especially if laughter is the corresponding response. In the words of the famous French philosopher Henri Bergson, “laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.” Laughter can create a sense of unity when shared among others and can increase happiness and intimacy.

Ever heard that old phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine?” According to research, laughter has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, and actually increase memory and learning. Laughter can also ease tension and even strengthen your immune system.

Let’s take a deeper look at the positive health benefits that laughing can induce:

  • Hormones: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones. It promotes the release of feel-good neurotransmitters such as endorphins, and increases the number of antibody-producing cells leading to a stronger immune system.
  • Workout: Most people can relate to a time when they laughed with so much vigor their stomach hurt. Laughing exercises the diaphragm and contracts the abs. It leaves muscles more relaxed afterward and can provide a good workout for the heart.
  • Memory: In a recent studying comparing laughter and its effects on short-term memory, results demonstrated a 50% reduction in memory decay after bouts of laughter.

A few interesting statistics about laughter:

  • The average person laughs approximately 17 times per day.
  • People are 30 times more likely to laugh in a social situation than by themselves.
  • Individuals with dominant personalities are more likely to use laughter than others.

By Levi Stein

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