Smiling, laughter have health benefits

Dr. Jim Surrell

As discussed in previous columns, there are indeed many genuine health benefits from smiling and laughter. Because I feel so strongly about these health benefits, let me again review them for you.

Let us first consider the biological benefits of smiling? As noted in scientific medical research, smiling activates the release of our natural human neurotransmitters within our body that work toward fighting off stress.

These neurotransmitters are chemical agents that serve as messengers within the human brain. Our internal “feel good” neurotransmitters, including dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, are all released when a smile flashes across our face. Therefore, this simple act of smiling will serve to relax our body, and can also lower our heart rate and reduce our blood pressure.

Many of us may well underestimate the positive impact a simple smile may have when we interact with others. Of course, a smile is non-verbal, but it can truly carry a very strong positive message to the person or persons to whom it is directed.

Numerous medical specialists have studied the effects of humor and laughter with regard to medicine and healing. They all agree that laughter does provide multiple healthy benefits. Here are just some of the beneficial side-effects of laughter. Laughter has been shown to offer physiological, psychological, social, spiritual, and overall quality-of-life benefits. There really are no negative effects of laughter and it should go without saying that laughter is really good for us.

Scientifically speaking, there are absolutely no medical reasons not to laugh, and laughter does indeed contribute to our personal health and wellness.

Following are some of my favorite quotes that tell us very much about the benefits of smiling.

1. “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Saint Mother Teresa

2. “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward

3. “A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” – Tom Wilson

4. “Most smiles are started by another smile.” – Frank A. Clark

5. “I have witnessed the softening of the hardest of hearts by a simple smile.” – Goldie Hawn

6. “Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.” – Connie Stevens

Now, let me see if I can get a healthy laugh or a smile out of you as you read the following.

What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear.

Why did the turtle cross the road? He was going to the Shell station.

What did mama buffalo say to her son when he left to go off to school? “Bison!” 

Why does a chicken coop have only 2 doors? Because if it had 4 doors, it would be a chicken sedan.

If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?  Pilgrims.

What do you call a bunch of rabbits hopping backwards across the road? A receding hare line.

Which two bunny rabbits were very famous bank robbers? Bunny and Clyde.

Why did Noah not allow any fishing off the ark? Because he only had two worms.

A patient came to see me and told me his memory was no good. So, I told him: “Forget it.”

The teacher asked the student, “What is your favorite book?” He replied, “My parent’s check book.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at