Laughter and Longevity

Laughter and longevity go together like a MacDonald's Big Mac and fries. 

You don't stop laughing because you're old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

Sven Svebak of the Medical School at Norwegian University of Science and Technology says adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny.His study covered about 54,000 Norwegians, who were tracked for seven years.

He released his study to the American Psychosomatic Society.Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires on how easily they found humor in real life situations and how important their humorous perspective was.

"The greater a role humor played in their lives, the greater their chances of surviving the seven years," Svebak says."Adults who scored in the top one quarter for humor appreciation were 35% more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter," he said.

"In a subgroup of 2015 adults who had a cancer diagnosis at the start, a good sense of humor cut someone's chances of death by about 70% compared to adults with a poor sense of humor," Svebak says.

"Funny or die" has a whole new meaning, thanks to a large study published in Psychosomatic Medicine. Women with a strong sense of humor were found to live longer in spite of illness, especially cardiovascular disease and infection. Mirthful men seem to be protected against infection.

Norwegian researchers reported findings from a 15-year study on the link between a sense of humor and mortality among 53,5666 women and men in their country.

The team assessed the cognitive, social and affective components of humor using a validated questionnaire, and examined death from specific conditions: heart disease, infection, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The findings show that for women, high scores on humor's cognitive component were associated with 48 percent less risk of death from all causes, a 73 percent lower risk of death of heart disease and an 83 percent lower risk of death from infection.

In men, a link was found only for the risk of death from infection - those with high humor scores had a 74 percent reduced risk.

The gender differences could be due to a slight decline in humor scores as the men aged, the authors suggest. No association was found for the social and affective components of humor.

Even if laughter does not help us live any longer, putting humor and laughter into your daily life will definitely make life more enjoyable and rewarding.

It most certainly will help you to better cope with life's challenges.

Living longer is most everyone's goal, but it's even more important to have quality of life. Life should be something we enjoy not just endure.

How humor and laughter affects longevity is probably most evident in people we have all been familiar with. George Burns was a stand-up comedian, who still made movies in his late 90's.

He was booked to do a performance on his 100th birthday in the London Paladium. Unfortunately, he didn't quite make it. However, he was still optimistic in his 99th year that he would be able to do the performance.

Bob Hope performed his stand-up comedy acts well into his 90's and Phyllis Diller performed her comedy acts well into her 80's.

A recent joint research review by Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina found that those with strong relationships were 50% likely to live longer.

One of the most important findings on the effects of laughter, particularly in later life, is its impact on inflammation, which plays a key role in a wide range of diseases, from arthritis to cancer, and which is a component of many age-related diseases that often cause disability.

The anti-inflammatory effects have also been shown to last 12 or more hours after the laughter has subsided.

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