Laughter: A Powerful Tool For Reducing Stress
On his way to perform at a graveside service, the bagpiper gets lost. After many wrong turns, he finally arrives, but the minister and mourners have already gone. Only the grave diggers remain, and they’re eating lunch. Not knowing what else to do, the bagpiper begins to play.
The workers put down their lunches and weep as the man plays “Amazing Grace.” When he finishes, he packs up his bagpipes and heads for his car. As he opens the door, he hears one of the workers say, “I’ve never seen anything like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years.”
If you laughed at the above joke, you obtained several benefits to your health. The most powerful benefit is that your level of the stress hormone, cortisol decreased. Chronic stress causes your cortisol levels to become elevated, which can damage your health. Higher cortisol levels have been shown to weaken your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to ward off disease.
Cortisol is an extremely potent stress hormone with a long half-life in the bloodstream. Once your cortisol level rises, it can remain elevated for close to 13 hours at the cellular level. Fortunately, laughter is a natural and effective method for quickly lowering elevated cortisol.
In light of these findings, it is not surprising that adults with an active sense of humor tend to outlive their more somber peers, according to a study reported in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.
Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can take to add more laughter and humor in your life. Make it a regular habit to read the comics and watch a comedy on television. If you don’t have the time to watch an entire movie, visit Youtube.com and see some of their funny video clips, which are usually only takes a couple of minutes.
Now it is your turn. What ways have you found to add more laughter to your life? Share your experience in the box below.