Research shows laughter is truly the best medicine

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2012

“Where was Moses when the lights went out?” Keep reading to find out the punch line of this joke.

Recently, I came across a news report about how Americans are turning to humor for relief from the stress and pessimism of life during these tough economic times in our country. Dealing with the struggles of the present and facing an uncertain future, Americans are finding that comedy helps them temporarily escape reality.

Research proves that comedy programs on television have higher ratings than other types of programming. Comedy movies are more successful at the box office.

Reading about this trend made me want to know more about how humor helps people. I found information on the amazing benefits of laughter. For instance, laughter relaxes your body.

A hearty laugh will relax your muscles for up to 45 minutes afterward. Laughter boosts your immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing infection-fighting antibodies.

Did you know that laughter is good for weight loss? According to the International Journal of Obesity, scientists discovered that laughing increases the heart rate and burns calories. They calculated that just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories. Depending on the person’s weight and the intensity of their laughter, one could lose up to 4 pounds a year.

Laughter is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health. It’s been said that a laugh or even a smile can go a long way towards making you feel better. How can you feel angry, anxious or sad when you’re laughing?

Humor can change your outlook on life. It changes your perspective on your troubles. Comedian Milton Berle called laughter an “instant vacation.” Best of all, it’s free. Don’t forget that laughter is contagious, so help those around you feel better, too.

The best-selling book of all time verifies the scientific study, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” Proverbs 17:22. There’s a Yiddish Proverb that reads, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” Then there’s the Irish Proverb, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.

Sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch are known as our five senses. Maybe our sixth should be a sense of humor. Billy Graham has written, “A keen sense of humor helps us overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable.”

Did you know that tennis is in the Bible? Remember, Joseph served in Pharaoh’s court (Genesis 41). By the way, where was Moses when the lights went out? In the dark, of course!

Don’t let the sun go down without exercising your “funny bone.” Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

I hope my jokes gave you a chuckle and burned at least one calorie!