Study Shows Laughter Can Make You Live Longer
Laughter is often referred to as the 'best medicine' for the human spirit, and there's plenty of evidence to support this claim. Some of the world's most celebrated figures, including George Burns (died at 100), Bob Dylan (born 1941, still alive), Bob Hope (Died at 100), and Lucille Ball, attributed their longevity to the power of joy and laughter, despite lifestyles that may not have been the epitome of health. So, what is it about laughter that makes it such a potent force for longevity?
The Joyful Science of Laughter
Laughing does more than just make you feel good. It activates and relieves your stress response, stimulating circulation and aiding muscle relaxation. Both of these factors can help reduce physical symptoms of stress. According to Mayo Clinic, laughter also improves your immune system by releasing neuropeptides that help combat stress and potentially more serious illnesses.
Furthermore, laughter triggers the release of the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, endorphins, promoting an overall sense of well-being. This explains the mood-enhancing effect of a good belly laugh.
Famous Figures and the Power of Laughter
Let's take a look at how these famous individuals leveraged laughter to live long, fulfilling lives, despite habits that could be seen as detrimental to their health.
George Burns: A beloved comedian and actor, Burns smoked cigars daily but lived to be a hundred. He attributed his longevity to his positive outlook and the ability to make others laugh.
Bob Dylan: Known for his witty lyrics and unique perspective on life, Dylan reached his 90s while maintaining a lifestyle that many might consider harmful. His passion for creating joy and laughter was clear, both in his performances and his personal life.
Jackie Gleason: Renowned for his jovial nature and humorous performances, Gleason also lived into his 90s, despite his love for cigars and liquor. He often credited his long life to the laughter and happiness he spread and received in return.
Lucille Ball: Famous for her role in the sitcom 'I Love Lucy,' Ball was known for her contagious laughter and ability to bring joy to others, living up to 77 years despite her smoking habit.
Scientifically Backed Laughter Benefits
Several studies support the health benefits of laughter. A 2016 study published in 'Psychosomatic Medicine' found that women with a strong sense of humor had a 73% lower risk of death from heart disease and an 83% lower risk of death from infection.
Another study from the University of Maryland found that laughter seems to help expand the inner lining of blood vessels, improving blood flow, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
This research affirms the adage that laughter truly is the best medicine, contributing to physical well-being and potentially even a longer life.
Conclusion: Harness the Power of Laughter
These tales and scientific studies demonstrate that laughter and joy play a significant role in overall health and longevity. While maintaining a balanced diet and active lifestyle is essential, let's not forget to add a daily dose of laughter to our routine. After all, it's not just about the length of life but the joy we find in living.
Remember, as Charlie Chaplin once said, "A day without laughter is a day wasted." So, go ahead, enjoy a good laugh, and add a little more joy (and maybe even time) to your life.
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