Would you like to save money on healthcare? Is it too expensive?
Surprising to many, the Bible contains practical advice that could help.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
Medical scientists have learned that laughter is extremely good for you, just as the Bible suggests. Studies at Loma Linda University in 2006 & 2008 showed that even just anticipating a good laugh or funny movie boosted immune hormones and reduced stress hormones. Laughter improves resistance to disease by increasing immune cells and disease-fighting antibodies and by lowering levels of stress hormones.
The Loma Linda researchers also found that laughter improved memory functions (by 43%) and learning ability (by 38%) in a study of senior adults in a 2014 NIH report. This is because laughing reduces production of cortisol, a stress hormone that can degrade memory and learning over time.
A study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center seemed to show laughter may have a significant impact on reducing heart disease. Dr. Michael Miller is director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He said,
“The old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart. We don’t know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack. . . . The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat right, and laugh a few times a day.”
(Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Heart, University of Maryland Medical Center, July 14, 2009.)
How to Increase Laughter
If laughter is so good for you, it makes sense to increase it in your daily life.
Begin with smiling. A smile is the start of a laugh.
Be thankful; name your blessings. This will move you away from negative thoughts and emotions and make it easier to laugh.
Instead of asking “How was your day?” ask “Did anything funny happen today?” “Did you hear a good joke today?”
Possibly, one of the best sources of laughter is YOU! Learn to laugh at yourself. Learn to laugh at your silly mistakes, twisted thinking, and convoluted life. Turn negative happenings into humorous anecdotes that you can tell and re-tell, spurring gales of laughter over and over.
More “Medical” Advice from the Bible
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7,8)
These verses say that humility, fear of the Lord, and righteous living all contribute to physical health.
A tranquil heart gives life to the body,
But envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30)
A peaceful and contented heart is healthy, a heart that abstains from envy, jealousy, or covetousness.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)
A good marriage contributes to health.
Science Catches Up to the Bible
Modern scientific study of the influence of humor on physical health began in the 20th century. The beginning is often credited to Norman Cousins who suffered in pain for years from a serious illness. In his 1979 book, Anatomy of an Illness, he said watching funny movies was a key component of his recovery.
Modern discoveries of the health benefits of laughter, humility, righteousness, and contentment were long preceded by the Bible’s instructions. Although the Bible is not primarily a science textbook, it does contain many scientific truths like these and those mentioned in this Science in the Bible series, truths that long pre-date their discovery by today’s scientists. This is strong evidence of divine authorship.
Questions to Ponder
- What step can you take today to bring a dose of laughter into your life?
- What is a practical way to inject the healing balm of laughter into the life of a friend or family member today?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the fifth in the Science in the Bible series of blog posts. While there is much science connected with Creation and Noah’s Flood, this series will focus on lesser known scientific truths that were alluded to in the Bible long before they were known to scientists.
Read the prequels:
1. Science in the Bible – Blood
2. Science in the Bible – Ocean Currents
3. Science in the Bible – Undersea Mountains
4. Science in the Bible – Ocean Reservoirs
Read the sequel:
6. Science in the Bible – Round Earth
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 1, 2017 A.D.
Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)