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Laugh Till Your Health’s Content!

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Laugh Till Your Health’s Content!

Loretta LaRoche
Loretta LaRoche More by this author
Dec 18, 2011 at 05:00 PM 0 comments

I have always believed that the power of humor and joyful living is the best way to relieve stress. My theory is based on traditions from centuries ago as well as cutting-edge science. In recent years, researchers have shown that laughter does positively affect your body in a number of ways.

When you laugh:

  • Your body temperature rises, making you feel warmer.
  • Your pulse and blood pressure drop.
  • Your muscles contract, then relax as you laugh.
  • Your breathing becomes deeper.
  • Your serum oxygen levels are elevated, which benefits your cardiovascular system, heightens your energy levels, and reduces your tension.

Laughter boosts your immune system. It activates T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which both help destroy invading microorganisms. In addition, laughter increases the production of immunity-boosting gamma interferon and speeds up the production of new immune cells. Plus it reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can weaken the immune system.

When we laugh, we release endorphins, which are chemical cousins to the opiates heroine and morphine—natural painkillers. And a robust laugh gives your diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart and lungs, and maybe even your liver a good workout.

Laughing for ten minutes straight is analogous to 100 rotations on a rowing machine. Your muscles tighten and relax, and thereby grow stronger. Thanks to a pulmonary cardiac reflex, your pulse can double with a good laugh.

Laughing is aerobic; laughing with gusto turns your body into a big vibrator and performs an internal massage. This could be safe sex at its best! As with sex, this arousal leaves you more relaxed. Some people get so relaxed they pee their pants! Maybe the market for Depends would soar if the manufacturers included a microchip to play the sound of laughter whenever it gets wet. This would give incontinence a whole new meaning!

I was gifted with a sense of humor at a very young age. Knowing all of these facts about laughter certainly makes me feel like I have improved my health over the years. But the bottom line is laughing just feels good. It gives us a respite from the mind’s relentless need to focus on what needs to be done and how little time there is for fun.

Lighten Up Your Week:

I believe we should live life as if we only have a few minutes left. Leave space in your day for celebration and laughter. There are many moments that contain joy, humor, and a sense of how absurd life can be. Don’t miss them. They will make your life richer as well as the lives of those around you.

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