Laughing matters: how to laugh more for better health
Life Care Center of Greeneville

Laughing matters: how to laugh more for better health

As we age, certain medications may become necessary for us. There are many types of drugs out there that come in various forms, but there is one form of medicine you should always keep on hand no matter what ails you –– and it’s something we all have taken since we were babies: laughter.

You don’t need a prescription for laughter. It doesn’t cost you anything. It won’t conflict with any other medications. And laughter has no adverse side effects –– well, maybe a sore face and an aching belly. Though it doesn’t come in a bottle, laughter may carry many health benefits that you shouldn’t ignore. And that’s no joke (but feel free to laugh). Below are a few reasons why you should welcome more laughter into your life, and how to do it.

When you laugh

It can’t replace a day at the gym or an aerobics class, but laughter causes changes in the body that are very similar to those that occur during exercise. Your muscles contract, and your heart rate increases. You begin to breathe deeply and more rapidly. These responses carry with them a number of benefits:

  • Stress levels drop. The increase in circulation can help ease physical aches and tension. Laughter can also help lower your levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, which can help you relax and improve your mood.
  • Vital parts of your body receive stimulation. The changes in your breathing will give your body more of the oxygen it needs to continue a long life of laughter.
  • You feel good. When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins in your body, which helps to ease pain, create positive feelings and promote social bonding.
  • Your immune system gets a kick. Studies suggest that laughter’s stress-relieving effects can help increase the number of immune cells that fight infections in the body.

It’s clear that laughter can act as a real “wonder drug.” So, why aren’t we all taking big doses and laughing our way through life? There are many reasons for that, but sometimes we simply forget how wonderful laughter can be. So, it’s necessary to take action and make room in your life for humor and cheer.

Living with laughter

Creating space and planning for laughter may seem too practical and humorless, but it is an easy way to create more funny moments. Here are some suggestions for how to get started:

  • Watch a funny movie or TV show. Look through the comedy section on your favorite streaming service and pick something you might like. Or re-watch some old favorites that made you laugh as a kid. From there, you can learn the names of the actors, directors and writers behind those favorites and see what other funny material they have produced.

And don’t forget loved comedians like Flip Wilson, Carol Burnett and Jerry Seinfeld. Many streaming services may have their shows or specials, and YouTube likely has some of their hilarious sketches and routines. It’s likely you’ll be laughing out loud again in no time.

  • Read a funny book. Have you ever read a book that made you laugh? Well, who wrote it? That author might have the hilarious touch you need. Look through your local bookstores or go to for more funny book ideas. Consider books like SeinLanguage by Jerry Seinfeld, The Princess Bride by William Goldman and Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. For more ideas, visit where you will find a helpful list of “the funniest books of all time.”
  • Share laughter with friends. Everyone has that one friend who has a way of making people double over with laughter. Get in touch with that friend and invite them to hang out for a day or evening. You will probably find yourselves laughing like old times––remember, laughter is a gift to be shared with as many people as possible.

Though laughing can never cure an illness or replace medical treatment, it might help improve your everyday living and your overall health. Many physicians, therapists and nurses use humor in their medical practices because of its potential health benefits, so we all should do our best to laugh more often. Laughing is a guaranteed way to improve your mood, and it might also lead you to a longer, healthier life!


Life Care Center of Greeneville

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Life Care Center of Greeneville

(423) 639-8131

725 Crum St., Greeneville, TN 37743

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