Using Humor To Stop Stress In Its Tracks
A marine biologist was telling his friends about some of his most recent research findings. “Some whales can communicate at a distance of 300 miles,” he said. “What the heck would one whale say to another 300 miles away?” asked his sarcastic friend. “I’m not absolutely sure,” the expert said, “but it sounds something like ‘Can you hear me now?’”
If you laughed at the above joke, a number of positive and healthy things happened. Any tension that you were feeling was decreased. You relaxed your muscles and your mood improved. Even more important for your long term health, your stress level decreased.
Humor provides remarkable physiological and psychological benefits. It is also a powerful tool for reducing stress. Wise King Solomon was certainly correct when he observed that, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). Modern science confirms what Solomon discovered. Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D., is a California psychologist who often lectures on the benefits of humor. According to Dr. Sultanoff, humor reduces stress hormones, dulls physical pain and promotes social bonding.
Laughter is indeed a great stress reliever. According to researchers at Loma Linda University, just the anticipation of laughing decreases the stress hormones dopac by 38 percent, cortisol by 39 percent and epinephrine by 70 percent. These findings provide clinical proof of laughter’s ability to reduce stress hormones that can damage the body and even negatively affect the brain, ultimately causing memory loss.
According to researchers, preschool children laugh about 300 times per day. No wonder they have so much energy and joy! In contrast, the average adult laughs approximately seven to sixteen times per day. Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can take to add more laughter and humor in your life.
Perhaps the most effective way to laugh more is to spend time with upbeat, positive people who are able to look at the humorous side of life. Laughter is contagious. People are much more likely to laugh when they are with others than when they are alone. In fact, laughter happens thirty times more often in social than in solitary situations. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who encourage you to be spontaneous and have fun.
For more tips for managing stress, download your free copy of “Tame Your Stress In 7 Days or Less.” Just put your name and e-mail address in the box located above right. You will receive instant access to this powerful report and audio. It is filled with practical, proven strategies that will help you manage stress and enjoy life.