It’s long been said that laughter is the best medicine. There is actually some truth to that. In fact, laughter can lower your blood sugar.
A study had volunteers — some with blood sugar concerns, some without — eat the same meal. Then they watched a 40-minute lecture. The next day the people ate the same meal and watched a 40-minute comedy. Their blood sugar was significantly lower after watching the comedy.
“Laughter may demand more energy for muscles,” says Dr. Nicky Keay, a hormone expert. “Our mood can also affect blood glucose control — we know that being stressed raises blood glucose, so the converse could apply. And, as if we needed any more excuses to laugh — splitting your sides could also be good for your heart. Laughter lowers the stress hormones. Stress raises cortisol, which increases blood glucose, boosts heart rate, constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response.”
A different study looked at people with blood sugar concerns who had a high risk of heart disease because of cholesterol and blood pressure. Researchers watched the participants for a year. They saw that people who laughed reduced their inflammation and increased their levels of good cholesterol.
Research into laughter therapy has been ongoing since the ’70s. Until the last twenty years, they didn’t understand how laughter positively impacts heart rate, blood flow, blood sugar and more. Laughter therapy has no medical risk, unlike other things you can try. You can watch funny things, read a funny book, play games with friends that will lead to laughter or go to a comedy club. You can also speak to your doctor. Laughter therapy sessions are held for groups where you might make new friends while having a few laughs.
You can also try laughing yoga. It’s a form of breathing and movement designed to make participants deliberately laugh. While most of us can fake a laugh, very few can laugh on cue. Laughing yoga is taught online and in some yoga studios. It’s a very gentle form of yoga that anyone can practice, and, like laughter therapy, there is no medical risk to trying it. In a study, laughing yoga lowered post-meal spikes in people with blood sugar concerns.
While laughter isn’t the best medicine, it can help. It cannot replace actual medication, a healthy diet and exercise. But it can boost all those things, help you keep your blood sugar normal and keep a smile on your face.