Laughter is an Instant Stress Reliever

“Laughter is as tranquilizer with no side effects.” Arnold Glasow

Laughter is one of the body’s safety mechanisms. It helps us to counter balance our stress and tension. When we are stressed our body quickly increases a hormone called cortisol. Is cortisol bad for us? Doctors say that is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands. It helps with the several functions in the body.

1) Proper glucose metabolism
2) Regulation of blood pressure
3) Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
4) Immune function
5) Inflammatory response

They say it is normally high in the morning and very low at night. But when we are stressed it changes the natural daily balance. Stress causes our body to goes into the fight or flight mode causing a quick serge or prolonged higher cortisol level. When this happens it can impair our cognitive performance, suppress our thyroid function, cause a blood sugar imbalance, decrease bone density, decrease muscle tissue, increase blood pressure, lower the immune system and can increase abdominal fat which can cause heart attack and stroke.
Laughter is one of the quickest ways to reduce stress. A good laugh adds a burst of oxygen that instantly helps relax the mind and decrease the cortisol to near normal levels. Studies have shown that laughter helps improve memory, lower blood pressure, balance blood sugar and increase the immune system. When you find yourself stressed out or feeling over whelmed that is the time you need to laugh.

I heard a story about a young model that was shot on a subway in New York near Time Square. She said at the hospital she was so frightened and panicked that it was her sense of humor and her ability to laugh that helped her cope with an extremely stressful situation. She also added that during recovery she spent most of her days watching the old TV sitcom “Friends.” She said the humor helped her work through the stress giving her energy to make it through the day. She also believed the chuckles helped with her healing process too.

Phyllis Diller said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

If your world seems like its upside down that is the time to escape with a good laugh.
It will not only lower the cortisol but ignite the healing power and energy within to make it through the storm. Remember what they say laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and even your cat will say, “hey I don’t need this!” Then she will leave you and look for a new owner who likes to laugh.

Copyright Richard Paul 2009

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