There is a popular saying “Laughter is the Best Medicine”. In this article, you’ll find out exactly why laughing is good for you and what it does to your body.
When I was a small boy, there was a group of “LET’S LAUGH AND BE HEALTHY COMMUNITY”. The group was comprised of elderly people, gathering in our neighborhood and looked healthy, although we were suffering from food shortage after the World War II.
I knew they did not live long because their horrible sufferings were devastating due to lack of rest and poverty in those days. But one thing I can say is that they did not suffer from dreadful diseases while lying on the bed.
Today, groups of several universities, medical professionals, and scientists are studying the effects of laughing, especially a big LAUGH. Everybody knows that laughing is healthier than crying or getting angry.
Diabetic patients get well faster when they laugh often. Also, cancer patients will have higher chance of recovery. How about senility? Once you get on your later life, poor memory will be an issue, but laughing can keep your brain’s function young. Some older people’s memories are as young as 30-40 years and you’ll notice that these people are always laughing. There is scientific evidence that laughter may also be able to aid in the curing of diseases. The notion that laughing has healing powers is not a new concept.
Effects of Laughing among the Elderly
Many years ago, a comedy show in Osaka invited a group of elderly people as guests. Prior to the show, a group of scientists conducted a blood test on the elderly people. After they enjoyed laughing from viewing the show, their bloods were again tested.
Results showed drastic changes in their blood chemistry and scientists found and proved that laughing is a huge factor. Even simple cholesterol contents in the blood had been reduced and normalized. In conclusion, your blood can become young and healthy in a short period of time by laughing. A newer study has found that a good laugh does not just make you feel good, but it just might make your blood vessels work better.
The studies showed that emotions might be closely linked to blood vessel function. They came to this conclusion after monitoring volunteers as they watched funny shows. Laughter appears to cause the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, to dilate or expand, in order to increase blood flow. On the other hand, feeling sad emotionally produces mental stress that causes vasoconstriction. This tightens the blood vessels and reduces blood flow.
Scientists say that laughter can greatly improve the function of your cardiovascular system, while mental stress will slow down blood flow. Given the results of our study, it is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. At the very least, laughter offsets the impact of mental stress, which is harmful to the endothelium.
What an actual survey says about the effects of laughing among the elderly
According to a survey conducted by the University of Tokyo in 2017 among 20,000 men and women aged 65 and above, elderly people who hardly laugh at all are 1.54 times more likely to not feel well than those who laugh hard every day. This equates to a higher chance of getting bedridden and higher mortality rate. In addition to it, the risk of getting the following is higher:
- Risk of stroke is 1.6 times higher.
- Risk of heart disease such as heart attack is 1.21 times higher.
- Risk of diabetes is 1.51 times higher.
So Why Does Laughter Work?
- Stress relief effect – the stress hormone, cortisol, is reduced.
- The action of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar, is improved.
- Exercise effect – When you laugh aloud, you use a lot of muscles such as abdominal muscles. Calorie consumption increases by 10-20% just by laughing at rest, and 10-15 minutes of laughter can increase energy consumption by 10-40 kcal per day!
As you can see, the beneficial changes that laughter can bring is similar to the benefit seen with aerobic activity. Aside from it, it is a natural pain reliever and helps activate natural killer cells, which is a vital component of the immune system.
I myself try to keep my family laugh every now and then. For that reason, we never get sick. Even a slight scar can be healed faster.
Try to listen on a fancy music, watch comedy programs on your TV, and socialize on funny things. Also, prevent yourself from being lonely and sad and you’ll have a happy family without maladies.
Probably, laughing might not make you live longer. But isn’t it nice when the time comes that it makes you die happily and peacefully without suffering from any sickness?