Stress has been shown to accelerate aging and disease – anything you can do to reduce stress has to be good. So how about laughing more?
Recent research has shown that laughter really does help us in managing stress. Adopting a humorous view of life’s difficulties can take the edge off everyday stressful situations.
Laughter prevents stress building up and stops the release of damaging stress hormones into the body.
We are probably all aware that not being too serious about everything helps us to keep some balance in our everyday lives. But laughter is more potent medicine than that. Not only does it deliver a sense of perspective but it can actually help to promote clear thinking.
Being able to laugh stress away is one of the smartest ways you have to protect yourself from the harmful effects of stress – essential for anti aging health.
A sense of humor also allows us to see and understand life’s little quirks and provides us with moments of true delight – even in the darkest of times.
Positive emotions from a burst of laughter or even a wry smile directly affect and enhance our immune response which is otherwise suppressed by the cortisol released into the bloodstream under stress.
Some years ago Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University Medical Center, California, produced a definitive study proving that the experience of laughter lowers cortisol levels and increases T lymphocytes – nature’s infection fighting cells.
Dr Berk’s interest in the effects of laughter on the body started in the 1970’s and research is continuing today. In fact Dr Berk is widening his area of research to include studies on the effects of nutrition and exercise on the immune system responses as part of a program of ‘whole person care’.
Results from Dr Berk’s studies have already been put to good use in the cancer center at the hospital – patient TV has been adapted to include more comedy programs and Lorna Linda Medical Center must be one of the only cancer treatment centers with a Laughter Library for the use of the patients.
So its definitely in your interests to find the funny side of every stressful situation and the more you can laugh about it the better. While you’re doing that don’t forget some of the other fantastic – and proven – benefits of a good laugh.
The physical act of laughing provides a bit of a cardiac workout – even if you aren’t on the treadmill at the time! Laughter clears out the lungs and body tissues of accumulated stale air – when you laugh you give out more air than you can take in – so it can actually be physically beneficial for patients suffering from respiratory problems.
Laughter increases muscle flexion, relaxation and blood circulation in your body – anyone who has ever been ‘weak’ with laughter will recognize the symptoms – but did you know just how good it was for you?
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers producing a general sense of well being.
If you’re involved in funny situation or see a funny film – the benefits of laughter can be repeated by recalling the laughter and what caused it. You may have found yourself remembering something funny and laughing out loud again at the memory. When that happens the immune boosting response is repeated and endorphins are released a second time into your bloodstream.
Laughter really can be a delightful and no cost anti aging health strategy. So – enjoy the joke and hold on to it for the future – you never know when you may need it!