General Question

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Does laughing really help you live longer?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386points) September 2nd, 2008

I can’t remember where I read this but I have always told my friends when we share a big laugh.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

Allie's avatar

It sure does feel like it. If it turns out to be true, I’m going to give the longest living woman a run for her money.
This question made me smile.

nina's avatar

It sure is worth it, even if it does not.

JackAdams's avatar

I think it does. I try to make myself laugh, each and every day.

I just stand naked in front of a mirror. (Sometimes I puke, instead of laugh.)

September 2, 2008, 6:41 PM EDT

Zaku's avatar

It helps as long as you don’t need to do something at the moment, like get out of the way of a train.

marinelife's avatar

Apparently so. Here’s one report from the NY Times summarizing the research:

“Dr. Andrew Steptoe, Dr. Jane Wardle and Dr. Michael Marmot, of University College London, review some of the previous affirmations of the value of being affirmative at the beginning of their paper.

To wit: Negative affect is associated with a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and disability. Positive affect, as judged by writings of nuns at age 22, is connected to greater longevity – for the nuns. Happy Finns live longer – than unhappy Finns. Even worse, “A lack of positive affect rather than negative affect predicts mortality, stroke and the development of disability in older adults. You don’t even have to be depressed to fare worse; a lack of happiness will wreck your golden years. Let a smile be your umbrella – or else.” claims studies do show an impact on longevity: “The powers of humor and laughter are numerous.They entertain us and make us feel good, but above all, we have discovered that humor and laughter are the best medicine, they heal, alleviate pain, relieve stress and anxiety, are anti-aging and longevity facilitators and much more…”

While we’re at it, did you know laughter also burns calories?

JackAdams's avatar

People with sour dispositions don’t live very long.

And they shouldn’t.

September 2, 2008, 7:28 PM EDT

gooch's avatar

Yes I have read this before. Many chemicals are released when you laugh that are benificial to you.

stratman37's avatar

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

JackAdams's avatar

I’ll remember that, the very next time I have some bones that need drying.


September 2, 2008, 8:53 PM EDT

generalspecific's avatar

@jackadams: your mirror comment sure did make me laugh.. not even just chuckle but full on laugh.. not many things on the internet do that, so thank you :D

augustlan's avatar

If it doesn’t, at least I’ll die happier!

JackAdams's avatar

@generalspecific: You’re welcome; glad you liked it.

I kind of “stole” it, in a way, from the late George Burns, who said, when asked about how he draws out emotions, while acting:

“When I want to laugh, I think of my sex life. When I want to cry, I think of my sex life.”

September 2, 2008, 10:39 PM EDT

AstroChuck's avatar

Laughter is the best medicine.
But only because it’s so much cheaper than health insurance.

cookieman's avatar

I love when you get into a laugh-a-thon with someone else. When you can’t remember what was initially funny – your just laughing because they are.

JackAdams's avatar

A lot of folks falsely accused the late Red Skelton of laughing at his own jokes.

He really wasn’t.

What a lot of people didn’t understand, was that he was laughing at the audience reaction to his jokes and one-liners. Their laughter caused his own.

September 3, 2008, 2:56 AM EDT

stratman37's avatar

cprevite, me too. I like to see who snorts first! And then, well, it’s GO TIME!

JackAdams's avatar

Not all laughter is healthy. Some of it can be fatal. There is an affliction called the “Laughing Sickness,” and here is how the Wikipedia describes it:

Kuru is a disease which affects the brain. It was endemic among the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea and was universally fatal. It is characterized by headaches, joint pains and shaking of the limbs. It is believed to be caused by prions and is related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It is best known for the epidemic that occurred in Papua New Guinea in the middle of the twentieth century. The word kuru means “trembling with fear” in the language of the Fore people, those most commonly afflicted with the disease. It is also known as the laughing sickness due to the pathologic bursts of laughter the patient displays when afflicted with the disease. Trembling is present in almost all patients with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.

September 3, 2008, 3:05 AM EDT

stratman37's avatar

thanx for the buzzkill, Jack! : )

JackAdams's avatar

No charge.

September 3, 2008, 3:07 AM EDT

stratman37's avatar

I just noticed how perfectly my avatar goes with my last comment.

JackAdams's avatar

“His name is Capt. Stratman, the Fluthering Explorer.”

“Did someone call him Snorer?”

“Hello, Hello, Hello!”

September 3, 2008, 3:13 AM EDT

stratman37's avatar


yannick's avatar

On a somewhat related note, I read somewhere (and this doesn’t make it legit in any way, but thought I’d mention it) that children laugh up to 200 times a day, whereas adults average 20. Dunno if it’s true, but it’s a bit worrying. I think I am on the 200 end of the scale, and I’m feeling pretty good :D

JackAdams's avatar

It has been written that, when we forget certain “childlike” behaviors and attitudes, that is when we begin to grow old.

September 3, 2008, 8:06 AM EDT

sarapnsc's avatar

Laughter is a great way to relieve stress and relax blood vessels.

Laughing out loud improves circulation as much as exercise, according to researchers at the Centre for Preventative Cardiology at Maryland University, US.

So LAUGH, it’s better than crying!

augustlan's avatar

Have a laugh on me :)

JackAdams's avatar


It’s been added to my “favorites” list.

I’ll play it whenever I need a hearty laugh, and don’t have enough time to look at myself naked, in a mirror.

September 3, 2008, 1:04 PM EDT

wrestlemaniac's avatar

He who laughs lasts.

Allie's avatar

…Thinks slowest?

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