Posted by Jerry Rauch on Monday, April 07, 2014
If you are looking for easy no-cost ideas to live healthier and longer, then start laughing. You may find it interesting to know that the average child laughs hundreds of times a day, but, the average adult laughs only about a dozen. It is estimated that approximately 70% of our thinking is negative or that we process about 300 negative thoughts a day. That’s roughly 1 negative thought every 2 ½ minutes. Sometimes, these negative thoughts are easy to identify, yet, at other times these thoughts come less obtrusively as subtle fears, worries, frustrations, etc. Either way, it is well-known that this kind of thinking can ill-effect our health and interfere with our lives. On the other hand a good old-fashioned belly laugh has long-lasting health rendering benefits. And, that’s no joke: as the Proverbs record, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
Consider this, laughter shuts off the flow of stress hormones that suppress the immune system and cause fatal blockages in the arteries. Disease fighting gamma-interferon, B-cell and T-cell activity increases to potentiate the immune system’s protective benefits to the human body when generous laughter occurs. In addition, laughter provides a kind of internal massage which is good for all vital organs. It helps relax the body while simultaneously decreasing stress and blood pressure levels. Laughter increases endorphin activity which induces euphoria and has a pain reducing effect that is stronger than some medications. A recent study showed that giving aggressive Alzheimer’s patients a reason to laugh may actually inhibit their tendencies toward verbal and physical hostility. Another interesting point is that speakers who use laughter to engage their audiences can increase the retention of the shared material with their audience.
The truth is no one has ever died laughing; conversely, we might be able to avoid a premature appointment with death if we choose to laugh more. As someone once said, “He who laughs, lasts.” Let’s make this even more practical. Cultivate a good sense of humor. Get rid of the negativity. Read some tastefully humorous stories, watch or listen to some wholesome comedies, and share something funny with someone else every day. Occasionally, try thinking like a child. Spend some time watching children laugh and play. Like them, be quick to forgive wrongs and hold no grudges. Regularly laugh out loud, even if you don’t feel like it. If you haven’t noticed, laughter is very contagious. You usually can’t sit long in a room where everyone is engaged in laughter and not begin laughing yourself. Laugh at yourself, even at those little annoying mistakes. Unless the mistake is serious, don’t take the mistake so seriously. You may soon find yourself living life a little more optimistically and be healthier for it.
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