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by Donna L. Watkins
Michael R. Wasserman, M.D., specialist in geriatric medicine states, "A few years ago, I came down with pneumonia, pulled out videotapes of "I Love Lucy" reruns and laughed myself back to good health. Clearly, humor and laughter have a positive effect on one’s attitude and health overall. While we don’t know all of the specifics, our immune system appears to benefit from these emotions."
Everybody knows that exercise is good for the body and mind. That’s evidenced by the memberships at fitness centers and gyms and the sale of home exercise equipment and even bicycles and walking shoes are making record sales.
Laughing is exercise!
Our bodies use muscles and controlled breathing when we laugh. The following are specific ways in which laughter benefits the body:
A belly laugh causes muscles to relax and be free of tension. As you laugh, muscles that do not participate in the belly laugh relax. After you finish laughing, the muscles involved have their turn at relaxing. So, the action takes place in two stages.
Reduces Stress Hormones
Laughter reduces at least four neuroendocrine hormones associated with stress response: epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone.
Immune System Enhancement
Clinical studies have shown humor strengthens the immune system.
Humor allows a person to temporarily "forget" about aches and pains from disability, injury, or surgery.
A belly laugh is equivalent to "an internal jogging." Laughter provides good cardiac conditioning especially for those unable to perform physical exercises!
Laughter lowers blood pressure although women appear to benefit more than men from this exercise.
Frequent belly laughter has a cleansing effect because it empties your lungs of more air than it takes in – similar to deep breathing. This is extremely beneficial for patient’s who are suffering from emphysema and other respiratory problems.
Have a Laugh!
Abraham Lincoln always started cabinet meetings with a joke. One day when he was being harassed by a heckler who proceeded to call Lincoln two-faced, the president retorted, "If I’m two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" Needless to say, the heckler had nothing more to say, and may have even laughed!
Go and do likewise! Make it a habit to laugh daily. If you have to watch television – choose comedies!