Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Benefits of Laughter

I found these interesting facts about laughter on the internet and thought I'd share them here. Who knew laughter could be so healthy? 

1. Laughing 100 times roughly equals 15 minutes on an exercise bike? Vigorous laughter increases the heart rate deepens the breathing rate, and uses muscles in the face, stomach, and diaphragm.
2. Aside from improving our moods, laughter can reduce stress, help fight infection, and reduce pain.
3. The levels of two stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine which suppress the body's immune system, will actually drop after a dose of laughter.
4. Laughter causes positive changes in brain chemistry by releasing endorphins, and it brings more oxygen into the body with the deeper inhalations.
5. Laughter releases anger, fear, guilt, anxiety and tension.
6. Laughter encourages concentration on "right" attitudes rather than "wrong" attitudes.
7. Higher levels of an antibody (salivary immunoglobulin A) that fights infectious organisms entering the respiratory tract were found in the saliva of people who watched humorous videos or experienced good moods.
8. Researchers found after watching an hour-long video of slapstick comedy that the "natural killer cells," which seek out and destroy malignant cells, more actively attacked tumor cells in test tubes. And these effects lasted up to 12 hours.
9. The 1998 movie Patch Adams told the real-life story of a nonconformist doctor convinced that fun, play, and clowns are important in improving patients' quality of life in a grim hospital atmosphere.
10. Planning enjoyable activities for the future will reduce the stressor hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

Sometimes life is not funny, but laugh whenever possible. A joyful spirit is contagious. 

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