Laughter is truly the best medicine


I am terrible at cracking jokes. When I try to be funny, only the crickets respond. I’m not so great at telling funny stories either. Those usually end with a resigned, “It was funny — you just had to be there.” 

To make people laugh, I usually just resort to corny puns and silly faces. But don’t think I don’t have a sense of humor; it’s just that few people other than my sister truly appreciate it.

And I love to laugh, whether at someone else’s jokes, a movie or my own misfortune. I think it’s safe to say everyone loves to laugh, and with good reason, because there are many proven benefits to having humor and laughter in your life.

Laughter can reduce stress, improve relationships and even boost your immune system, according to People who seek humor in their life reduce their levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – and increase endorphins, which are feel-good hormones.

People who frequently laugh can increase their levels of antibody-producing cells, which help fight off sickness. These people are happier, more energetic and have a positive outlook on life. Not to mention great abs.

Science has shown that couples and friends who laugh together have much healthier relationships and enjoy being with each other. The correlation is even stronger when they produce their own laughter rather than laughing together at a movie or comedian. It doesn’t matter whether you are the jokester or the listener; laughter brings people together, puts them at ease and creates a fun, addicting atmosphere. 

So just how do you go about creating comedy in your life? Instead of trying – and sometimes failing – to be funny, learn to find humor in everyday events.

If something is frustrating or downright ridiculous, don’t get down. Laugh it off and tell your friends.

Or let’s say something embarrassing happens to you, like the time I wore pants to the Peters Recreational Complex. I went to take them off, and down came my shorts as well. But I didn’t realize it right away. I had to start stepping out of them before I recognized my shorts were around my ankles, not just my pants, letting everyone in the whole place get a peek at my undies. Red in the face, I wanted to march right out of there and forget about my workout, but instead, my friend Anne and I laughed about it for a few minutes, and I felt much better.

Living your life with a lighthearted attitude and finding humor in frustrating events can give you greater satisfaction and improve your sense of well-being. You’ll learn to take obstacles as they come and find more enjoyment in everything you do.

In short, laughter really is the best medicine.

Sarah Hurd is a senior in kinesiology. She teaches aerobics classes at the LIFE Fitness Center at noon on Fridays. Please send comments to edge@spub.ksu.