My belief in the power of humor and joyful living to relieve stress is based not only on centuries old notions but on cutting-edge science. In recent years, researchers have shown that laughter positively affects the body in a number of ways. *The body temperature rises, making you feel warmer. *The pulse and blood pressure drop. *Muscles contract, then relax as you laugh. *Breathing becomes deeper. *Serum oxygen levels are elevated, which benefits the cardiovascular system, heightens energy levels, and reduces tension. Laughter also boosts your immune system. It activates T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, both of which help destroy invading microorganisms. In addition, laughter increases the production of immunity-boosting gamma interferon and speeds up the production of new immune cells. And it reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can weaken the immune system. It appears 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 your liver a good workout.
It has been found that laughing for ten minutes is analogous to rowing on a rowing machine one hundred times. Your muscles tighten and relax, and thereby grow stronger. Thanks to a pulmonary cardiac reflex, your pulse can double from say, 60 to a 120. 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. There could possibly be a market for Depends that have a microchip in them that sounds like laughter when it gets wet. It might give a whole new meaning to incontinence. I was gifted with a sense of humor from a very young age and knowing all of the above certainly makes me feel like I might have improved my health. But the bottom line is laughing, feels good! It gives you a respite from the minds relentless need to remind you what needs to be done and how little time there is for fun. 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 those around you.