We all surely know some of the most common benefits of laughter, but a recent study by researchers from Loma Linda University in California, US, has revealed that much more than offering relief through humour, laughter is a vital tool to the health for our physical and mental state.
The study was carried out among 20 healthy adults between the ages of 60 and 70, in which the levels of stress and short-term memory were assessed. The research was divided into two groups: the first group was asked to sit quietly, read or use their mobile phones without speaking; while the second group was shown funny videos.
After 20 minutes, the participants from both groups gave saliva samples and also underwent tests of short-term memory.
The results showed that the group of people who had been exposed to comedy videos scored significantly better on tests of short-term memory than the other study group. The so-called “group of humour” improved their memory by 43.6% in comparison to the results gained in the pre-study test. The other group improved as well, but with not as much success, bettering their previous score by 20.3%
On the other hand, the group of individuals who sat through 20 minutes of funny videos showed considerably reduced levels of the well-known “stress hormone” (cortisol), although there was also a slight reduction in stress levels of the other group.
Other studies about laughter and its benefits
In addition to the aforementioned research, there are numerous studies that are beginning to provide us with a much more comprehensive and consistent view as to what extent laughter can be healthy.
As a case in point, an investigation conducted by the Nashville Vanderbilt University (USA) has estimated that about 15 minutes of laughter a day may help us to consume 40 calories. Another study, carried out by the University of Maryland (USA), has demonstrated the benefits of laughter against coronary disease.
Gelotology is the science that studies the effects of laughter on our bodies and minds, which, among numerous other findings, has revealed that laughter helps the pituitary gland to release “its own opiates” in order to reduce pain.
Here are some of the benefits that a good laugh gives us:
- Improves blood flow and oxygenation of our blood
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Increases the response of some cells such as Gamma interferon or T cells in the fight against cancer
- Reduces our propensity for colds
- Improves our creativity, memory and capacity to be alert
At Best Doctors we are pleased to invite you to take every opportunity to laugh. If you manage to do this at least 15 minutes a day, your physical health and mood will thank you for it for years to come.