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Health and Humor

Two guys are walking down the street when a mugger approaches them and demands their money. They both grudgingly pull out their wallets and begin taking out their cash. Just then, one of the guys turns to the other, hands him a bill, and says, “Here’s that $20 I owe you.”

There, now don’t you feel better? A study at Loma Linda University in California indicates that you should. They discovered that laughing is more than just fun, it’s important to your health. They found that laughing reduces stress hormones, boosts your immune system, releases endorphins that diminish pain, lowers blood pressure, and decreases blood sugar in diabetics.

I went to the psychiatrist and he said, “You’re crazy.” I felt insulted and told him I wanted a second opinion. He nodded and said “Okay, you’re ugly too!” Can’t you just feel your blood pressure diminishing?

health_and_humor_imageLaughter has been found to exercise the heart muscle and diaphragm, increasing your ability to utilize oxygen better. In fact, some have termed it “internal jogging.” Additionally, unlike prescription medications for the same thing, there are no known negative side effects, unless you embarrass yourself with a loud snort.

Did you hear the one that goes:

My friend was working at an amusement park when a couple stopped him. “Excuse me,” said the woman, pointing to a pond. “What is that water made out of?”

Bemused, my friend replied, “Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.”

“See?” she said to her boyfriend. “I told you it wasn’t real.”

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that approximately “85% of all illnesses are curable by the body’s own healing system.” It has been noted that positive emotions, including laughter, positively impact the body’s ability to heal. Conversely, negative emotions like sadness, hate, anxiety, and depression detract from the immune response. When you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, it may be helpful to ask yourself these questions. Is it that bad? Is it worth getting upset over? Is it that important? If you find yourself where it’s not appropriate to laugh out loud, just know that a smile is a silent mini-laugh and will boost your health too.

Hey, I know a guy who called up the Home Shopping Network. They said, “Can I help you?” And he replied, “No, I’m just looking.” Can’t you just feel your muscles relaxing?

A research study done at Johns Hopkins University found that humor during classroom instruction led to improved test scores. It was noted that students had increased attention, alertness, memory, and enhanced creativity. If I had known this when I was younger, I would have chuckled my way through physics class with a better grade.

laughter_leads_to_better_health_picDo you understand the ramifications? Dr. Bernie Siegel said, “The simple truth is that happy people generally don’t get sick.”

Josh Billings wisely quipped, “There ain’t much fun in medicine, but there’s a heck of a lot of medicine in fun.” In other familiar words, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Socially speaking, the reality is nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer. For your health and relationships, be positive and smile. It’s contagious. If we all laughed a lot more, like we did when we were kids, there would almost certainly be less fighting, less arguing, less divorce, less road rage, and it’s hard to have a war when you’re giggling. We all know about the “fight or flight response.” The healthier choice is the “laughter response.”

So take this advice: watch a funny movie, associate with fun people, play with children, crack a joke, play games, don’t take yourself too seriously, and grin as often as possible.

Learn more about Dr. Steve Weston

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