By Gene Millen
The ancient scriptures give us some good advice about heart health and laughter. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
When we’re laughing, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses increase, as do Gamma-interferon and T-cells, which supercharge our immune function to protect us from a host of diseases, flu and cold viruses and upper respiratory problems.
A dose of the giggles also lowers blood pressure, triggers a flow of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well being.
A touch of levity also gives us a perspective on our problems and helps us to accept the things that we cannot change.
Author Patty Wooten writes,
“The ability to laugh at a situation or problem gives us a feeling of superiority and power. Humor and laughter can foster a positive and hopeful attitude.”
Laughter is a complex response that involves many of the same skills as problem solving. Enjoying a good joke is a mind-altering experience, which involves the whole brain.
Humor researcher Peter Derks has shown that there is a unique pattern of brain wave activity that actually jumps back and forth through the various processing centers of the brain to follow the pattern of a joke from the beginning to its punch line.
Norman Cousins, who has written extensively on this subject, says that a good belly laugh is a “kind of internal jogging” and is a good source of cardio exercising, which is great for your heart health.
Researchers estimate that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. This is no doubt good news for some of you out there who show exercise at the bottom of your “I’ll do this later when I’m not so busy” list.
Bernie Siegel MD, cancer survivor and author of “How To Live Between Office Visits says, "The simple truth is that happy people generally don't get sick."
Dr Siegel tells the following story. A famous surgeon presented his patient with a bill. The patient said, “I’m sorry but I cannot pay.”
The doctor then asked, "Can you pay half?” and the patient said, I’m sorry but I cannot pay that either.”
The doctor tried again. “How much can you pay?" ”Nothing" said the patient. The doctor was very upset and exclaimed, “If you couldn’t pay, then why did you choose me, the most renowned surgeon in the country to perform the operation. The patient answered, “ When it comes to my health, money is no object.”
Humor is a universal language. In countries such as India, laughing clubs -- in which participants gather in the early morning for the sole purpose of laughing -- are becoming as popular as Rotary Clubs in the United States.
Try it sometimes with your friends. Sit together in a room and start making funny faces at one another. It won't take long before you all find yourselves immersed in deep belly laughter.
Laughs but not least, jest for the heart health of it, take time out to add a little more humor to your life.
Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!
Author Biography: Gene Millen has a wonderful website called Heart Health for Life. Heart Health for Life is dedicated to keeping you, and your heart, healthy forever!