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Laughter is The Best Medicine

Many years ago, Norman Cousins was diagnosed as “terminally ill”. He was given six months to live. His chance for recovery was 1 in 500.

He could see the worry, depression and anger in his life contributed to, and perhaps helped cause, his disease. He wondered, “If illness can be caused by negativity, can wellness be created by positivity?”

He decided to make an experiment of himself. Laughter was one of the most positive activities he knew. He rented all the funny movies he could find – Keaton, Chaplin, Fields, the Marx Brothers. (This was before VCRs, so he had to rent the actual films.) He read funny stories. He asked his friends to call him whenever they said, heard or did something funny.

His pain was so great he could not sleep. Laughing for 10 solid minutes, he found, relieved the pain for several hours so he could sleep.

He fully recovered from his illness and lived another 20 happy, healthy and productive years. (His journey is detailed in his book, Anatomy of an Illness.) He credits visualization, the love of his family and friends, and laughter for his recovery.

Some people think laughter is a waste of time. It is a luxury, they say, a frivolity, something to indulge in only every so often.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Laughter is essential to our equilibrium, to our well-being, to our aliveness. If we’re not well, laughter helps us get well; if we are well, laughter helps us stay that way.

Since Cousins’ ground-breaking subjective work, scientific studies have shown that laughter has a curative effect on the body, the mind and the emotions.

So, if you like laughter, consider it sound medical advice to indulge in it as often as you can. If you don’t like laughter, then take your medicine – laugh anyway.

Use whatever makes you laugh – movies, sitcoms, Monty Python, records, books, New Yorker cartoons, jokes, friends.

Give yourself permission to laugh – long and loud and out loud – whenever anything strikes you as funny. The people around you may think you’re strange, but sooner or later they’ll join in even if they don’t know what you’re laughing about.

Some diseases may be contagious, but none is as contagious as the cure. . . laughter.

By Peter McWilliams
From “Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul”

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Lol August 5, 2021, 12:46 pm

    I alwayed laughed so much, i mean i still do in smallest things, people started calling me crazy for laughing for even getting a soup, i started feeling dull listening to their comments, i felt like laughing isn’t good, my heart kept telling me the opposite, and here i am listening to my heart and laughing, and now i know why those people said that i was crazy beacuse they all are so caught up in their lives that they think that laughing isn’t important, but i will say a alot of them are in depression, atleast being called crazy is better than depression! 😀

  • None of your concern May 18, 2019, 5:31 pm


  • Bhuvandas March 25, 2018, 12:33 pm

    Great inspirational and a guideline for those who are not able to realise the value of great laugh which creates the wellness chemical endorphin in the body

  • Maheswar June 13, 2017, 4:10 am

    It is true, laughter is always the best medicine.
    Like to read more on laughter
    Thanks and regards

  • Joseph christian jimenez May 23, 2017, 6:09 pm

    Very nice story I can used this to my preaching

  • Shripad August 20, 2015, 1:38 pm

    I totally agree that laughter is the best medicine irrespective of whether it is natural or artificial. I have read that when a person becomes furious his 72 facial nerves are under stressful condition, whereas when he laughs only 12 facial nerves are stressful.

  • Mohammad May 22, 2015, 11:18 am

    It is true, we should learn and cultivate this good habit to be more healthy and productive.

  • Princy March 20, 2015, 12:46 pm

    ha ha haaaa the best medcn!!!

  • Maxry February 10, 2015, 4:07 am

    This is very true..i hv found It helpful

  • Raymond December 1, 2014, 8:31 am

    Thank you very much for this inspiring story. Sincerely speaking, laughter is the best medicine. It is many years ago I have never experienced illness. I’m always in good health. Thanks once again.

  • Zed October 31, 2014, 7:59 am

    Laughter is so good. We experienced much from the The father of laughter in Ethiopia.

  • Emy October 13, 2014, 11:53 pm

    Very true. Laughter is like considered as medicine. Laughter is like healing.

  • Salifu Tommykings Keita October 9, 2014, 6:55 am

    Interesting story…. I love it…… thanks friend……

  • Carol smith September 16, 2014, 8:50 am

    OMG!! Very inspirational. You must have laughter for happy life.Laughter do not reduces your problem but it will give you strength.

  • Naf olaitan August 9, 2014, 9:59 am

    Yahhhhh love the story gonna share it with my friends

  • Kimaya July 16, 2014, 5:16 am

    Wow! A verrrrrrrrry nice story. Ya laughter is the best medicine.

  • Garretwojciecho June 26, 2014, 3:36 am

    Feeling rundown? Try laughing more. The fact cannot be denied and laughter is truly the best medicine. I always like to visit laughter clubs and Gotham Comedy club is one of my favorites. They know how to shed all your stress within minutes.

  • Khim Khadka June 25, 2014, 12:48 am

    It’s really very helpful for me to develop my career and i want to be a member of the forum.

  • Kriitika singh rathor April 24, 2014, 8:33 am

    It’s true that laughing is the best medicine and it is true that some people think that if they laugh they r wasting their time, but it is not correct, we should laugh much we can get rid our problems difficulties… thanks


    Kritika singh rathore 5th E jaipuria school, lucknow u.p. India

  • Chitzzi April 17, 2014, 2:19 pm

    Laughter – it’s like this sweet medicine that doesn’t cost a cent.

  • Zmanothy April 12, 2014, 4:04 pm


  • A.Bhatia April 5, 2014, 6:45 am

    Great story/case study and the eye opener for many to understand the importance of laughing. Every one must cultivate the habit of laughing for few minutes every day.More you laugh, the more you enjoy life, and more people shall be attracted towards you.Laughter is indeed the best medicine, its now proved.

  • Rajni Gohil April 2, 2014, 8:02 pm

    It is like one size fits all. Laughter is the medicine for all diseases. No side effects but has to take it with Faith only. This nice story will inspire many try and get benefited. Thanks for very helpful story.

  • Benson gitonga April 2, 2014, 6:47 am

    So good

  • Mansoor siddiqui April 1, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Living a happy life is not possible without Laughter, agreed. But, laughter therapy could treat terminal illness is certainly a miracle. My question is, could this therapy treat every ailment?

  • Alfred magro April 1, 2014, 10:46 am

    “What soap to the body, laughter is to the soul.”

  • Madhoor April 1, 2014, 10:36 am

    You are right laughter is the only and best medicine for all occasions.

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