Lighten Up! LOL

Image Map Posted by: Debi Phillpotts

With so much awareness placed on the harmful effects of stress and the toll it takes on our well being it’s no surprise some of us are taking action to diminish these effects via exercise, diet, meditation and replacing our negative habits for more positive ones.

I for one have been “re-vamping” myself for the last decade (my never-ending life’s work), which can be quite the harrowing task at times. But there is a method that’s so enjoyable it literally leaves you feeling lighter immediately. Laughter. Even better, deep belly laughter. Researchers already know laughter helps to assist those coping with a major illness or life’s stresses but have also found laughter actually balances all the components of the immune system which helps us fight off disease. Scientifically, laughter works by reducing the production of stress hormones and the fight or flight compounds our body produces in times of stress, anger and hostility. Stress hormones suppress the immune system and raise blood pressure.

On the flip side, when we laugh, we produce natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses, along with Gamma-interferon, (a disease fighting protein), T-cells, which are a major part of the immune response and B-cells, which make disease destroying anti-bodies. Our respiratory tract is strengthened by laughter, which allows for better protection from infectious organisms. Not only can laughter be a total body workout, hence the feeling of exhaustion after a good bout of laughter, but there are many positive psychological effects. According to American Association for Therapeutic Humor, laughter provides a harmless way to release old stored negative emotions without having to express them. What a great way to rid yourself of “old baggage”!

There are some obvious ways to engage in laughter like watching comedy, being silly or surrounding yourself with funny people. Some other ways are laughter therapy which get people laughing in a group or individual settings, laughter yoga, created by Dr. Madan Kataria and don’t forget the infamous Dr. Hunter (Patch) Adams who was the catalyst for clown therapy worldwide. You can actually join a professional organization called The International Society for Humor Studies.

Whatever the case may be, lighten your load and start with a smile or go for a full on outburst of laughter, its contagious and worth spreading. Enjoy knowing your laughing your way to better health!

Some quotes on laughter:

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” ― Audrey Hepburn

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”  ― Veronica Roth, Divergent

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” ― Mark Twain

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