Have you ever thought about laughter as healthy? Over 25 years ago, Dr. Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness described how watching Marx Brother movies helped him recover from a life-threatening tissue disease.
"Laughter is an antidote to apprehension and panic," wrote Dr. Cousins.
Can laughter improve your health? Yes! Medical studies have shown that laughter utilizes muscles throughout the body. For instance, laughter exercises the lungs and circulatory system and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Laughter also:
-- Reduces muscle tension
-- Boosts endorphins, the body's natural painkillers
-- Reduces levels of hormones and neurochemicals
-- Stablizes blood pressure
-- Increases heart rate
-- Provides a natural boost to the immune system
Amazingly, laughter also reduces stress. Levels of epinephrine, the stress hormone which constricts blood vessels and suppresses immune activity -- decreases in the body as a result of laughter.
In other words, laughter is a good way for people to relax! It is beneficial from the inside-out, and has no side effects. Do you have respiratory problems? It may be possible to laugh them away. There have been incidences where a hearty belly laugh helped people with respiratory problems by clearing mucus and aiding ventiliation.
Laughter also gives your heart a good cardiac workout. Some hospitals have stand-up comedians and "clown kids" in attempts to speed their patients healing, recovery, and boost morale. Medical researcher Dr. Lee Berk found that laughter increased the activity of "natural killer cells" which destroy viruses and tumors.
Laughter also increased disease-fighting protein, B-cells, the source of a disease-destroying antibody, and T-cells which help cellular immune response.
Today is a fantastic day to laugh, learn, love, and grow. You can do it! Go ahead and laugh. It's good for you.
If you need a good laugh, check out Nicky VanValkenburgh's stress reduction Web site that features funny, weird, and bizarre photographs: http://www.20minutestolessstress.com/Funny_pictures.html
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