Humor to Combat our Stressful Lives

Mark Doyle asked:

With all the recent events in the finical markets, housing markets, global tensions and war it is little wonder why a recent poll showed that 8 out of 10 Americans feel stressed out. So how do we deal with our stressful lives and make the most of them. The answer may be to simply have a good laugh now and then.

People have been saying that laughter is the best medicine for years. Is a trip to the comedy club or watching comedy on the internet really good for you? For an answer to this question we turn to the medical community for the answers.

We know that, during stress, the adrenal gland releases corticosteroids (quickly converted to cortisol in the blood stream) and that elevated levels of these have an immuno suppressive effect. Research shows that laughter can lower cortisol levels and thereby protect our immune system.

A sense of humor allows us to perceive and appreciate the incongruities of life and provides moments of joy and delight. These positive emotions can create neurochemical changes that will buffer the immuno suppressive effects of stress.

Stress is not dependent solely on an external event, but also depends upon the perception of the event and the meaning the person gives it. So, how you look at a situation determines if you will respond to it as threatening or challenging.

Humor gives us a different perspective on our problems. If we can make light out of the situation, it is no longer threatening to us. We have already discounted its effect. With such an attitude of detachment, we feel a sense of self-protection and control of our environment.

So watch a comedy movie or television show or check out stand up comedy videos on the web. It will give you a little break and allow your body to take care of itself. Have a good laugh, you will enjoy it and you just might feel a lot better.

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