“Laughter is a good medicine. In contrast to many other types of medicine, it does not require a doctor’s prescription, and there is very little danger of overdose. Best of all, the price is right; it’s cost-effective” as stated by Carl A. Osborn, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. Pain and illness is something we all go through, whether it is mental or physical.
Humor is an everyday mechanism that can actually lighten the pain, or in other words “heal” it. Who would’ve thought that a simple change in mood could affect your physical and mental being? Humor is something that is very contagious, probably even more contagious than the common cold.
The sound of laughter immediately grabs attention and brings people together. It’s the sound of happiness and can lighten the mood of any blue day. Humor can actually provide healthy mental and physical changes to our bodies. The benefits of humor are easy to obtain, all you have to do is laugh. According to Current Health 2 magazine, “studies have shown that a good sense of humor helps our mental health, in part because it puts us more in control of our lives.”
Obtaining humor enables you to have an increased self-esteem, meaning you control how you react to certain situations, good or bad. Many people if not everyone experience bad situations or experiences. Some people let bad situations take hold of their lives, which could cause them to become sad and have self-pity, while others make the bad situation better by using humor.
Mental health is also enhanced by humor by linking people together. It enables people to provide ideas and emotions in a healthy way. In more of the biological terms, your body’s cells communicate with each other by molecules called neuropeptides, which are nerve proteins. These cells receive neuropeptides and are influenced by emotions and are produced in the brain.
Examples would be endorphins, which are our happy hormones, and serotonin, which makes us feel good. According to a psychotherapist, Anastasia Christidou, “our thoughts, our daily mood or emotional state have a big influence to our physical health.” Different feelings and thoughts affect our nervous system by using neuropeptides, which carry messages between the mind and body or as said by Christidou, “perception in the brain to the body and emotions.”
So basically when our mental or emotional state is not in balance, neuropeptides will make symptoms show in our bodies. Because neuropeptides are affected by emotion, humor greatly affects our health. According to an article by Therese J. Borchard on world of psychology.com, “in 2006 researchers found that two hormones- beta-endorphins and human growth hormone increased by 27 and 87 percent respectively when volunteers anticipated watching a humorous video.
Simply anticipating laughter boosted health-protecting hormones and chemicals.” Not only does humor stimulate neuropeptides, but it also directly stimulates our immune system to fight cancers as well as invading viruses.