Can laughter save your life?

 

People who use humor to cope with stress have better immune systems, reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, experience less pain during dental work and live longer. The researchers recommend people laugh for 15 minutes a day.

Via Richard Wiseman’s excellent book 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute:

People who spontaneously use humor to cope with stress have especially healthy immune systems, are 40 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, experience less pain during dental surgery and live four and a half years longer than average. In 2005 Michael Miller and his colleagues at the University of Maryland showed people scenes from films that were likely to make them feel anxious (such as the opening thirty minutes of Saving Private Ryan) or make them laugh (such as the “orgasm” scene from When Harry Met Sally). Participants’ blood flow dropped by about 35 percent after watching the stress-inducing films, but rose by 22 percent following the more humorous material. On the basis of the results, the researchers recommended that people laugh for at least fifteen minutes each day.

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