Is Laughter Still the Best Medicine?

Laugh your way to better health. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

“Laughter is the best medicine!

It’s hard to remember exactly when we heard it first; but in my case, it’s been like more than four decades ago?  The sure thing is I have used it as my medicine against life’s  many stressors, and is probably your best choice of medicine too!

But when and where did the quote originate?  It would be interesting to find out!

Laugh your way to better health. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

According to research, it was inspired from one proverb in the Bible,  Proverbs 17:22 (New King James Version) which goes:  “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”    However, in the Amplified version of the Bible, it goes like this:  “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Although it is accepted that bringing laughter to others do have merit, the quote is taken more as a having to do with personal attitude and beliefs.  It has become synonymous with having a positive and humor-oriented  mind. However, through the years, it has become broader in meaning and is even used in the corporate world as a tool to improve the ambiance in the workplace, promote motivation among employees and is regarded as an effective tool to cope with stressful job situations.

Further studies also yielded some interesting facts which we can share with others:

Takes 13 muscles to smile and 47 to frown

*  Laughter enhances the immune system and thus, prevent disease

There are 18 different kinds of smiles; and the smile of enjoyment is most common

*  3 1/2 calories is burned just from one good belly laugh; has an exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise

*  Laughing for a quarter of an hour is like getting two hours of beneficial sleep

*  Laughter stimulates the lungs and the heart

*  Longer life span if you laugh at least 15 seconds regularly or have a great sense of humor (Is this why comedians live longer?)

* Studies in bio-feedback confirmed Charles Darwin’s belief that a person’s facial expression actually influences his moods; such that if you have a laughing expression, you actually develop a happy mood, and vise-versa.

* Aging adults with strong sense of humor have greater coping capabilities and higher life satisfaction  ratings

* Studies also revealed that the Chinese laugh most among all the culture in the world!  That they work, play and laugh hard! (Now, I understand why there are many humor-filled Chinese movies.)

*  On surveys on movie choice: 1) comedy against horror, yielded 78% and 22% respectively, 2) comedy against drama had 79% and 21%.  People’s preference is a lot higher on comedy than with other types of movies or shows.

Late 19th century or early 20th century depiction of different stages of laughter on advertising cards

If we are going to consider how much people patronize comedy films, hilarious TV sitcoms and gag shows, funny commercials, stand up comedy everywhere, and all sorts of laughter triggers, we would definitely come up with the conclusion that people need and want laughter in their lives because it brightens their mood and serves as an antidote to life’s challenges.  Humor truly brings better effects health-wise, as backed up by studies.

Seems like laughter, after all, is  still the best medicine.

Web Sources:

http://www.bibleornot.org/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-bible/

http://www.humor-laughter.com/laughter-facts.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laughter

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124200913.htm

http://www.fanpop.com/spots/movies/picks/results/531200/which-prefer-comedy-horror

http://poll.letssingit.com/20120228/