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Laughter Is Good Medicine

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

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  • Anthropological research suggests laughter and humor are genetically built-in, and that humor, historically, has functioned as “a social glue.” The critical laughter trigger for most people is not necessarily a joke or funny movie, but rather another person
  • Laughter is contagious. The sound of laughter triggers regions in the premotor cortical region of your brain, which is involved in moving your facial muscles to correspond with sound
  • While children laugh on average 300 times a day, adults laugh only 17 times a day on average. Suggestions for how to get more laughter in your life are included
  • In one study, even after adjusting for confounding factors, the prevalence of heart diseases among those who rarely or never laughed was 21% higher, and the ratio of stroke 60% higher, than among those who laughed every day
  • Benefits of laughter have been reported in geriatrics, critical and general patient care, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, oncology, psychiatry, rheumatology, palliative care and terminal care

Many studies support the notion that optimism has a beneficial influence on your health. So, what about laughter? Indeed, there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that laughter is good medicine, too, both physically and psychologically.

Anthropological research suggests laughter and humor are genetically built-in, and that humor, historically, has functioned as “a social glue.” As noted in the 2016 article, “Did Early Humans Have a Sense of Humor?” published by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Theology, Science, and Human Flourishing:


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