In Stress and Coping

Does Laughter Really Prolong Your Life?

In my book, I am talking about the link between defence mechanisms suggested by Anna Freud. George Vailant investigated them further proposing to distinguish them in a hierarchical order from pathological to mature or adaptive ones. This idea became a start point for investigating the role of these defence mechanisms in our health and well-being. It so turned out that denial and humour became the most investigated defence mechanism in the area of medical psychology.

In this post, I would like to talk about humour. All of us have heard that laughter prolongs our life. Is it true? In 2001, the psychologist Rod Martin decided to find an answer to this question. He took into consideration the findings from a number of previous studies, which reported, although inconsistently, that a good sense of humour might lead to good physical health through boosting immunity. His conclusion based on the statistical calculations of the existing numbers is shocking – humour and laughter most likely do not increase longevity. However, a good sense of humor does help (1) lowering stress hormones including cortisol and triggering the release of endorphin – known as a hormone of happiness, (2) decreasing pain, and (3) relaxing muscles.

Also, the beneficial results of humor are thought to rest in stress buffering effects, because laughter benefits to mental health through reducing anxiety and fear, relieving perception of a situation as stressful, improving mood, and enhancing resilience.

Watch more comedy programs and laugh for your health and well-being!

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