Did you know that seventy percent of disease processes are directly related to stress, which triggers hormones that suppress the immune system, raise blood pressure and can lead to fatal obstructions in arteries?
Cortisol and adrenaline are activated during times of stress, hostility and rage. Adrenalin bombards the heart, forcing it to beat as if in a constant state of fight or flight. Mental stress can cause inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack.
THE GOOD NEWS
Research has confirmed that intense laughter causes the body to produce dopamine, a natural stress-reducer, which has a vital role in protecting health, provides a general calming and anti-depressing effect and can help reduce potentially more-serious illnesses. Dopamine lowers cortisol, a culprit for fat around our midsection and central organs.
- lowers blood pressure by increasing the diameter of the blood vessel which allows more blood flow.
- boosts the immune system by increasing infection-fighting antibodies and T-cells (natural killer cells that destroy viruses and tumors). Many doctors attribute cancer patient’s longevity to their choice of a positive outlook by looking for the humor in every situation.
- increases respiratory rate and enhances oxygen consumption, stimulating the heart and lungs and aiding muscle relaxation. Dr. Michael Miller, director of the Center of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, recommends laughter as part of a heart healthy program for patients.
- reduces pain. Researchers at Oxford University found that those who laughed at comedies tend to withstand pain longer, while laughing along with others relieved pain better than laughing alone.
Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, M.D wrote in ‘A Book of Miracles: Inspiring True Stories of Healing, Gratitude, and Love’ that survivors who laugh, live longer.
Some effects of laughter are still present the next day.
Laughter is contagious. When we see many people laughing, we end up laughing involuntarily, according to a study at University College of London. Laughter connects us with those who make us laugh by making us feel more comfortable, and thus strengthens relationships. Just try to watch this all the way through without laughing:
Laughter has no side effects, is available for free, wherever you are. Choose to look for the humor in every situation in your daily life…and share your laughter with others.
A merry heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.(Proverbs 17:22)