Question: If stress is bad for us, and weakens our immune systems, can laughter be good for us and make us healthy? Apparently so. A couple of recent studies have shown that a good belly laugh not only helps us mentally, but it helps us physiologically as well. When people laugh, anxiety levels go down, and good cholesterol -- HDL -- goes up. Laughing relaxes us and improves our mood. The curative power of laughter has been known for centures, and Aristotle said, "Laughter is a bodily exercise precious to health."
In 1988 a German social psychologist from the University of Würzburg conducted a study with some volunteers. Half of the volunteers were asked to hold a pen between their teeth, thereby creating an artificial smile. The other half of the volunteers were asked to hold the pen in their lips, thereby creating an artificial look of disappointment. The volunteers holding the pen between their teeth felt happier, just by creating a smile. In other words, when we smile, we automatically feel more cheerful.
Laughing is also sexy. In another study done at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, "women are more likely to consider a man in a photograph a desirable relationship partner if the picture is accompanied by a funny quote attributed to him. In fact, the women preferred the funny men." In the alternative, men don't necessarily prefer witty women, but they do prefer women who laugh at men's jokes. Well, women have always known that, haven't we? The sexiest thing a man can have is a sense of humor. Women are more likely to fall in love with a man who can make them laugh.
I love to laugh, and I in fact have had my laugh tape-recorded. *sigh* Laughing is fun, it's free, and it's apparently good for us -- body and soul. Heard any good jokes lately?