Is good health as easy as doing jumping jacks while watching a comedy? Science finally caught up with the Bible, revealing these surprising health benefits of laughter for your spirit, soul and body.
When was the last time you had a really good laugh? Not just a small chuckle or a controlled and proper “haha” on the phone, but an all-out, ab-tensing, snort-inducing, sigh-following belly laugh?
Life can be serious sometimes. Bills, health or family concerns, and stressors from work don’t exactly induce roaring laughter. But just like exercise, laughter is extremely good for your health and, more importantly, it’s a decision.
The Bible tells us, and now science confirms it—a merry heart does good like medicine—spirit, soul and body (Proverbs 17:22). Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Avery Jackson, has taught and shared powerful lessons about the effects of laughter on the health of your spirit, soul and body. Dr. Jackson shared how recent research proves that laughter, in conjunction with exercise, will repair your body far beyond anything you can do in the natural.
God’s prescription for health? It includes laughter!
Dr. Jackson says, “God built in mechanisms to heal our imperfect, earthly bodies. Laughter is one of them.”
The good news is that you can make a decision to laugh every day, and as you do, you will rake in these five surprising health benefits of laughter for your spirit, soul and body.
1. Laughter Increases Blood Flow
Maybe you didn’t realize it, but the last time you had a really good laugh—perhaps at a good friend’s joke, a funny television show, or one of those cat videos on YouTube®—you were getting healthier!
Dr. Jackson says that laughter improves your blood flow, which in turn reduces your stress hormones, lowers your blood pressure and activates your immune system. That’s why Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV) says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.”
This is critical because, according to Dr. Jackson, poor blood flow is the root cause of many diseases. It increases inflammation, which Dr. Don Colbert confirms is the root cause of all major diseases.
Exercise is also a key element in ensuring healthy blood flow. That’s key for people who work sitting or standing for six to eight hours each day. When you exercise and laugh, you are increasing blood flow to the brain—facilitating God’s healing mechanism and preventing disease. It can also repair or prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. We were made to move and be joyful!
Young children, on average, have 300 good belly laughs each day. A typical adult, on the other hand, only experiences 10 per week! Of course, adults have much more to think about and a great deal more responsibility, but the health benefits of laughter are too great to ignore.
Laughter is so important to your health and blood flow, you even get benefits if it’s a put-on laugh. That’s why Dr. Jackson forces himself to laugh many times throughout the day—even if he doesn’t feel like it.
He says, “If you start laughing, even when you don’t want to, it won’t be long until you’re laughing out loud at how funny you sound.”
While both sincere and fake laughter have amazing health benefits, what is even more impressive is how much your body benefits just from anticipating laughter. Studies show that stress hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine drop 70% just from anticipating a good laugh, while mood-elevating hormones called endorphins get a boost.
If you want to live in divine health—spirit, soul, and body—get your body moving and get your daily belly laughs!
2. Laughter Reduces Pain
Hand in hand with blood flow is the issue of pain. There is an opioid epidemic in this nation because people are seeking relief from pain, then being given highly addictive prescription painkillers. But God has a better way.
Though pain relief is often necessary, God has His own prescription for pain. Exercise—which acts as a natural painkiller—and laughter. Both work in the same way as a prescription or over-the-counter painkiller in the way they chemically affect the cell receptors in your brain and body. That’s God’s amazing design!
According to Dr. Jackson, God made the naturally occurring hormone dopamine to relieve pain. We can increase our dopamine levels through both exercise and laughter, and reduce pain naturally. An article in the New England Medical Journal found that 10 minutes of belly laughter relieved pain for up to two hours!
It can be the opposite of what you feel like doing when you’re in pain, but if you focus on getting yourself to exercise or laugh, in combination with speaking the Word of God and standing on His Word for healing, you can take control over what may seem like an out-of-control situation.
This truth changed the life of a man who had been sent home with a terminal condition. He knew the Bible says a merry heart does good, like medicine. He determined that he needed to get some laughter in his life. So, he spent hours every day watching episodes of I Love Lucy, laughing and laughing and laughing. That man recovered!
Yes, standing on the Word of God for healing is first and foremost, but adding exercise and laughter to your routine is clearly beneficial.
3. Laughter Prevents Disease
The benefits of laughter doesn’t stop at simply reducing pain—a good chuckle can prevent disease, too!
You have an assignment on this earth and staying in good health is part of God’s plan for your life. One way to accomplish this?
Find the funny in life!
Research has found laughter can improve your health and prevent disease by:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Releasing muscle tension
- Increasing feel-good hormones (dopamine, endorphins)
- Decreasing stress hormones
- Boosting the immune system
- Burning calories, and
- Giving an overall sense of well-being.
Also, laughter has been found to reduce tumors, increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments, and lengthen the lives of cancer patients.
That is quite a list of benefits for something so fun!
It’s easy to see why the joy of the Lord is not just the strength of your spirit, it’s the strength of your mind and body, too. The Bible tells us to “count it all joy” (James 1:2, NKJV) in every circumstance for our own physical, mental and spiritual protection.
As you may have guessed, laughing once in a while isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to make laughter a regular part of your life—just like exercise.
How can you get your daily laughter in?
In his book, The God Prescription, Dr. Avery Jackson prescribes the following:
- Laugh, even when you don’t feel like it.
- Watch or listen to shows by comedians who do not use obscenities, like The Carol Burnett Show or Christian comedian Tim Hawkins.
- Read comics in the newspaper.
- Watch funny videos on YouTube®, such as the eTrade babies or videos showing the hilarious antics of children and animals.
For more groundbreaking information and practical lifestyle tips, order your copy of Dr. Jackson’s new book, The God Prescription, HERE.
Start making laughter a part of your daily life and laugh your way to health!
4. Laughter Improves Emotional Health
While laughter is effective at preventing disease, it also reduces stress, which is a major player among the causes of disease. Research has found that emotional health is strongly connected to physical health because, as Dr. Jackson explains, “Emotional issues affect how we see the world, which will, in turn, impact our bodies and emotions.”
Part of our emotional health comes from how we process past circumstances. Dr. Jackson says when one experiences emotional trauma as a child, it often leads to chronic pain and depression in adulthood because there is a direct correlation between what happened to that person and how he or she perceives the world as an adult.
Without the help of the Lord, those traumas can cause people to see things flipped around and not in the light of the truth of God’s Word. The only way to make all things new and move into emotional health is through the Lord Jesus Christ. His joy is our strength, and it, along with the other fruit of the spirit, is imparted to us when we become born again.
Joy is a big part of pushing the reset button on emotional trauma. But you have to operate it by faith.
One way to do so is through laughter.
When you choose to laugh, you choose the joy of the Lord, and that decision positively affects your spirit, soul and body. It’s who you are really meant to be in Christ.
Laughter is a factor of emotional healing. Whenever you start to feel sad, despondent or depressed, make yourself laugh. Remember, your body doesn’t know whether you are laughing spontaneously or are forcing yourself to laugh. The benefit is the same either way!
Dr. Jackson recommends combining laughter with physical and spiritual exercise. He likes to dance in the spirit or pray in the spirit while doing other physical exercises. Then, he works to get in as many belly laughs each day as possible. “When you do,” he says, “you obey God by making Him your joy and refusing to take on the stress of the world.”
Find 25 Scriptures About Joy and Laughter HERE.
5. Laughter Strengthens Your Spirit
Dr. Avery Jackson’s research on laughter, as well as Kenneth Hagin’s revelation on laughing at the devil, has inspired ministers like Kenneth Copeland of the Victory Channel to teach others the importance of laughter in strengthening your spirit.
Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is our strength—spirit, soul and body. Dr. Jackson adds, “There is an anointing that comes from joy that strengthens you when there is no strength.”
Laughing from an overflow of joy in the Spirit has tremendous spiritual benefit. When you laugh, you defy the devil’s ability to bring sadness, fear or despair into your life. You laugh at his lack of authority. Instead of dreading the future, you will “laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25).
Dr. Jackson says, “The best source of laughter is overflowing joy that comes from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Kenneth E. Hagin knew this truth and once used it to laugh at the devil until his heart symptoms disappeared. One night, he was experiencing heart symptoms, and up out of his spirit came laughter. As he laughed, the devil asked, “What are you laughing at?”
Brother Hagin said, “I’m laughing at you because you said I’d never get my healing.”
He kept laughing by faith until he laughed those symptoms right out of his body. That’s the joy of the Lord and the power of laughter to strengthen your spirit!
Kenneth Copeland, a student of Kenneth E. Hagin, says, “The Bible says the Lord sits in the heavens and laughs at the devil (Psalm 2:4). So go ahead, laugh. God is. We should, too. But do it expecting until your financial enemies, family’s enemies or physical enemies are made your footstool.”
These five surprising benefits of laughter are worth laughing about! The best part? Laughter is free, easy, fun and without side effects. Take the Bible’s advice and spend time developing a merry heart. Find things that make you laugh and include them in your everyday life. You can laugh yourself healthy—spirit, soul and body!