You can add years to your life and enjoy the best possible health your genes will allow - just by laughing a lot.
A hearty belly laugh is as good for your heart as a round of aerobics, says our expert. Laughing clears and exercises your lungs, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and offers a host of other benefits.
Author Norman Cousins, by way of example, relied on laughter to beat heart disease and the pain of a rare form of arthritis. He even wrote books about laughter’s ability to heal sickness and injury.
Dr. Issac Kroneburg of the Copenhagen Research Institute told me in an interview: "My research proves beyond doubt that a laugh a day can prolong life and make it better from every point of view.
"People who laugh at least 10 minutes every 24 hours tend to have markedly fewer health problems, less depression and more fulfilling love lives.
"Your can reap the benefits of laughter at any time of life, even if you haven't done much laughing in the past. My research indicates that men and women who have always laughed live an average of five years longer than people who haven't laughed much.
“People who start laughing later in life report improved quality of life, they become happier people and less stressed. And those changes clearly increase longevity, as many independent studies have shown."
Kroneburg'study has spanned 23 years, during which time the clinical psychologist monitored the health and behavior - and laughter - of over 1,600 men and women ranging in age from 22 to 95.
"Over time it became apparent that no matter what kind of personality or job or family situation an individual might have, those who laughed lived longer, better lives," he told the Herald-Guide.
Here are Kroneburg’s tips for adding laughter to your life:
1. Collect jokes. Funny stories not only start you laughing, they get friends and family giggling, too.
2. Watch funny movies or TV shows.
3. Spend more time with funny friends. Anyone who makes you chuckle is worth his weight in gold.
4. Do something silly. Act like a teenager. Wear a goofy hat. You'll laugh and feel better for it.
5. Hang out with the biggest laughers of them all - children. They know how to let their hair down and have laugh-out-loud fun.