It’s no secret that laughter is good for the soul, but a new study has revealed that it also has great health benefits.
The Loma Linda University study found that humor can not only improve your mood, but it can lower your stress levels and improve your
Researchers looked at 20 healthy older adults in their 60s and 70s, measuring their stress levels and short-term memory. One group was asked to sit silently, not talking, reading, or using their cellphones, while the other group watched funny videos. After 20 minutes, participants gave saliva samples and took a short memory test. While both groups performed better after the break than before, the "humor group" performed significantly better when it came to memory recall. Participants who viewed the funny videos had much higher improvement in recall abilities than the non-humor group with 43.6 percent and 20.3 percent respectively.
More interesting, the humor group showed considerably lower levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, after watching the videos. The non-humor group's stress levels decreased just slightly.
Previous studies exploring the effects of laughter have pointed out that a good laugh here and there can burn up to 40 calories and can also prevent heart disease. Overall, health professionals champion humor as a great way for older adults to improve their quality of life, citing social interactions, group exercises and watching humorous television programs daily as great ways to bring laughter into one’s life.
The moral of the story? Find more ways to bring humor into your life. Figure out what makes you happy and, importantly, what makes you laugh. Humor is a lifestyle. Embrace it.