As soon as I spilled a little water on the picnic table, it froze. But our dinner of vegan soup was the perfect hot temperature to warm our insides.
Once all seven of us were snuggled into our sleeping bags just above the cliffs in Black Canyon National Park, the jokes started. I faded off to sleep to the sound of laughter.
This morning, Jeremiah asked, “Did you hear Elizabeth laugh and laugh at my joke last night?” He repeated his little quip, once again to much laughter.
Our expedition, however, wasn’t all fun and games. Packing up our tent, I heard a scream and glanced up to see seven-year-old Seth running towards me in tears. Snow dripped down the front of his shirt.
As I picked him up, his older brother JJ approached us looking apologetic. Their snowball fight had ended badly, so I encouraged him to comfort his little brother. A minute later, they were laughing.
And laughing, it seems, is important for good health. In fact, the old proverb that “Laughter does good like a medicine” has some scientifically-supported underpinnings!
Back in 2001, reports naturopathic physician Dr. Jacob Schor, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a letter from Japanese allergist Hajime Kimata.
It described a trial in which Kimata performed pinprick tests on 26 patients suffering from dust mite allergies and measured the size of their resulting welts. He then had them view Charlie Chaplin’s classic comedy, Modern Times (a family favorite!), retested them and measured the new welts.
At a later time, he repeated the entire procedure with the same patients. This time, however, he substituted a weather-information video of the same length as the film.
The results? After watching Modern Times, the patients had significantly smaller welts
following their pinprick tests and for at least two hours thereafter. But, Schor writes, “Watching the weather had no effect on welt size.”
In this NutritionFacts video, Dr. Greger observes:
“The more you laugh, the better your natural killer cell activity gets… Because of the role natural killer cells play in viral illness… the ability to significantly increase their activity in a brief period of time using a noninvasive method could be clinically important the next time you have a cold.”
And this Express article quotes Neuropsychologist Dr., David Lewis, who carried out a separate survey on the health benefits of frequent laughter:
“Laughter can be a tool used to help people feel better…We took people suffering from colds and, after 30 minutes of watching comedy clips, more than 70 per cent said their symptoms were not as bothersome and they felt more energized.”
For all of us on planet Earth, 2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year. That’s all the more reason to spend quality time with people who make you laugh. A good giggle can make you feel better – and boost your immunity as well!