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By Letshego Zulu


5 Reasons why laughter is the best medicine

Laughing often can make you live longer. When you have lots of good laughs, it can also improve your health and lifespan.

It’s true: laughter is a strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body.

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

The benefits of laughter

Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others and keeps you grounded, focused and alert.

It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use. As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults’ laughter is more infrequent.

But by seeking out more opportunities for humour, you can add years to your life.

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Benefits of laughter
Family and friends laughing together. Picture: iStock

Laughter is good for your health

Laughter relaxes the whole body, relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterwards.

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which promote an overall sense of wellbeing and can temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart

Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories

One study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories.

Old senior couple laughing together.
Old senior couple laughing together. Picture: iStock

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load

Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations. Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.

Laughter helps you stay mentally healthy

Humour helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. Laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh or a smile can make you feel better. And laughter really is contagious. Just hearing laughter primes you to join in the fun.

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