More Than Ever: Why We Need a Good Laugh

One of my regular treats in life is indulging myself at Whole Foods after “getting my hair processed”. While I was in the checkout line I came across the August edition of Ode Magazine, an international magazine intelligent optimists. What struck me was the title of the issue, since we’ve had recent blogs and discussion about The Power of Laughingthe medical benefits of humor.

Of course, I couldn’t resist buying the issue, not only because I’m an optimist, but I spend most of my day either laughing or trying to help others do the same with something funny or helping them look better and feel better. Worth the whopping 5 bucks ( you get it for free by clicking the link above…call it part of your “stimulus package”).

Here’s some great highlights:

  • “A laugh a day keeps the doctor-and the cardiologist and the psychiatrist-away” In an article about Medicinal Mirth, Dr. Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, investigated the link between humor and heart health in 2005. Miller says mental stress is associated with damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels. Eventually this damage encourages inflammation and plaque buildup on the endothelium, which, with the resulting arterial stiffening, can lead to a heart attack.”Our studies found a direct effect of laughter on the endothelium, and recent studies in Athens found improvements in arterial stiffness following laughter,” Miller says. The studies, performed at Athens Medical School and Hippokration Hospital and published last May in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, confirmed the detrimental effects of stress and beneficial effects of laughter on arterial stiffness in a group of volunteers who alternately watched upsetting and funny videos. Unlike more elastic arteries, stiff-walled arteries increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. “Laughing 15 minutes daily, or more, may be another important therapeutic lifestyle measure for maintaining vibrant heart health,” Miller says.
  • Just a spoonful of laughter helps your sugar go down. Evidence from Japanese investigators shows that laughing may help people with diabetes stabilize their blood sugar levels, especially the spikes that commonly occur after meals. The scientists, from the Foundation for the Advancement of International Science in Ibaraki and the Diabetes Center at Tenri Yorozu-sodansho Hospital in Nara, demonstrated that genes related to NK cells, which may also help regulate blood sugar levels, were turned on after patients with type 2 diabetes (the most common kind) watched comic videos, but not after they were compelled to listen to lectures about diabetes. Further, their post-meal blood sugar levels were much improved after the funny videos.
  • “Laughter is the essence of life” according 70 year old Dhyan Sutorius who teaches Laughing Meditation to get not only in touch with your “inner giggler”, but also to add joy to the calming effect of meditation, which further cleanses your body of the hormone cortisol, which is a major sourse of stress causing weight gain and cardiovascular damage.
  • “Laughter is universal.” says Jurriaan Kamp, the Edittor in Chief of Ode. It helps bridge the gap between cultures and experiences. In essence, when people are laughing together, they recognize they are not alone.

Mark Twain said ” The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter”

With that kind of attitude, there could be better health and peace in our world.

We all need a good chuckle. Please share a good joke, a humorous cartoon, what makes you laugh or even a link to your favorite funny video.

Looking forward to reading and seeing them, as well as sharing them with others.

Keep smiling right


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