I'm a big fan of laughter. In fact, I tell people that it's a hobby of mine. I've got big dimples and if you know me at all, you would probably say my laughter precedes me. It's just an innate part of my personality and what I enjoy in life. Nonetheless, I've got the science to prove it!
BoingBoing just posted the "Science of the Laughing Cure," which came from this month's Scientific American Mind article, "How Humor Makes you Friendlier, Sexier." I concur. "Laughter relaxes us and improves our mood, and hearing jokes may ease anxiety."
Norman Cousins, the journalist, author and editor of Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient found there was no pain reliever better than clips of the Marx Brothers. For years, Cousins suffered from inflammatory arthritis, and he swore that 10 minutes of laughing at the hilarious team bought him two hours of pain-free sleep. "Amusement’s ability to counteract physical agony is well documented, and as Cousins’s experience suggests, humor’s analgesic effect lasts after the smile has faded."
Cousins' work as an adjunct professor at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, let him investigate the effects of emotions on biological states and health.
From his investigation and work they found: "The community of patients inspired by such miracle treatments believes not only that humor is psychologically beneficial but that it actually cures disease. In reality, only a smattering of scientific evidence exists to support the latter idea—but laughter and humor do seem to have significant effects on the psyche, even influencing our perception of pain. What is more, psychological well-being has an impact on overall wellness, including our risk of disease."
So take that. Lighten your load and remember a good laugh with friends is more than fun, it's beneficial to your psyche and can significantly improve your overall well-being.