Friday, July 5, 2013

"smiles everyone, smiles...."

"Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that."-George Carlin

         Laughter and physical exercise may have a lot more in common than we think. Both can boost our health and immune system.  All of us have been advised of the numerous benefits of an active lifestyle, but did you know that laughter not only supports the immune system, improves blood pressure, stimulates the organs but it also reduces pain? Levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine tend to decrease during bouts of laughter. These hormones can suppress the immune system, opening the floodgates to a host of infections, illnesses and general poor health. One study found that laughter significantly helped reduce stress and improve immune function which is an indication that laughter may be an extremely beneficial addition to treatments for cancer patients.  

          Laughter has been discovered as a very complex physical process. There are several theories on how to classify what we find humorous. Just listen to one of thousands of comedians or watch your favorite variety show. (Right now I'm working on an article about the best sketch comedy shows for another forum)  Any extreme emotion can make us laugh, which is sometimes why we laugh in what are considered "socially inappropriate" moments (like funerals or at accidents). When we hear someone else laughing it also triggers laughter, so it really is contagious. There is a great deal of research that indicates laughter is healthy, boosting our immune system but if you feel like you're getting sick or you don't have any energy, stop worrying about going to the gym, you just need to find people with a good sense of humor. 

 Below is a clip from comedian Jim Gaffigan espousing the joys of birthday cake.  

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