Where did the idea come from that laughter is the best medicine?

King Solomon, considered one of the wisest men who ever lived, may be the source. He didn’t say that laughter was the “best” medicine, but he did say, “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” Proverbs 17: 22

Doctors doubt that laughter heals like a properly dispensed anti-biotic, but they agree it does improve your health. Psychologists have also long believed that the practice of positive thinking and an abundance of laughter brings pleasure and facilitates good health.

Here are some of the benefits of “a cheerful disposition:”

Laughter sets off a chain reaction of positive physical changes throughout your body. Not only does your laughter make you feel better emotionally, but it helps you heal physically. Here’s what the MDs say happens: When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, a primary stress hormone, that can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and excess belly fat. Somehow, laughter lowers cortisol to safe levels.

Laughter also fortifies your immune system. How? When you laugh, your body increases the production of antibodies in your saliva and bloodstream, and they fight off bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Pretty cool, huh?

Want better skin? Laugh more and complain less. “People suffering from eczema noted improvement in their complexions after consistently watching funny movies.” Personally, I’d rather watch Young Frankenstein for the 100th time than rubbing yukky cream on itchy skin, wouldn’t you?

Guffawing is almost as good as an hour at the gym. When you laugh big, your heart and lungs work harder which increases your oxygen consumption and heart rate – almost like a ride on your bike or a walk around the block, only not so hard on your knees.

Laughter has another benefit you have experienced many times – after a good time of hilarity and belly laughter, you feel relaxed, relieved, and recovered, remember? Of course, you do!

Laughter is also a natural antidepressant better than any drug from Abilify to Zoloft. Watch a few episodes of Seinfeld or I Love Lucy, and your depression and anxiety will be alleviated at least for a while!

You live in a stressful world. Busy schedules, difficult relationships, disappointing jobs, painful health issues, financial problems, and more litter our lives. More laughter is needed to combat the “gloom and doom that leave bone tired.” Everyone could smile more, laugh more, and better yet, guffaw more – that includes you and me. We can all feel better with laughter starting right now just by starting with a smile, letting it grow into a grin, and when the time is just right, explode into laughter!

God gave us humor to make us happier and healthier. He made it universally available, easy to administer, and financially affordable. Almost 100 years before doctors discovered cortisol, Henry Ward Beecher (1813 - 1887) wrote, “Mirth is God’s medicine.”

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ross is author/speaker on success, motivation, marriage, senior issues. Located in Colorado.