A positive outlook can help you stay healthy, and keeping your spirits up is good for you. Happy and jolly people are less prone to sickness and tend to recover faster when they do fall ill. There’s even an entire field of medical research—gerontology—devoted to looking at how laughter can work as medicine. Here are some proven medical benefits of humor and comedy:
- It increases alertness and improves creativity.
- It keeps blood pressure down.
- It helps get oxygen to the brain, improving thinking.
- It increases blood flow and improves the efficiency of circulation.
- It helps boost immune activity.
- It improves memory and boosts learning ability.
- It prevents respiratory infections.
- It lowers the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones.
- It helps exercise major muscle groups, including the abdominal and respiratory muscles.
Studies have found indirect health benefits as well. Humor has been found to help health-care and palliative care providers such as home health aides and hospice staff deal with the stress of caring for terminally ill patients. Emergency room professionals are also known for (very dark) humor. In fact, anyone working a stressful job can benefit from the relief that humor is able to provide. It is a proven coping mechanism for stressful situations.