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Humor Is Good For You
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A hearty laugh may be good for your health and protect you against heart disease. A good burst of laughter can increase your heart rate, improve your blood circulation, increase respiration and better oxygenate your system, and reduce the level of stress hormones. The laughter provides benefits to the heart very similar to that obtained from an exercise routine.

But there are also psychological benefits of laughter. A good laugh can help a person improve their outlook on life, and may even lift a person out of depression. Laughter is also a useful factor for combating the negative effects of stress, as it helps to dissolve problems, and enables a person to relax. Furthermore, humor provides us with a chance to laugh about the oddities of life and thereby relieve a tense situation. It helps to minimize one’s worries and fears, and enables an individual to confront problems with greater creativity and flexibility.

The benefits of humor

Humor adds life and color to a conversation and helps to secure the attention of the listener. Humor also helps to relax and engage an audience during a lecture or speech. When laughter is reciprocated it encourages the speaker.  And because it can be contagious during a discussion, laughter has a way of creating a bond between people.

Health professionals know the value of laughter to reduce pain, and foster recovery. Hospital patients who receive humor therapy by watching comedies and reading jokes are more relaxed and responsive, and make fewer demands on the hospital staff. People who regularly watch humorous films have a marked decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, have lower blood pressure levels, have fewer heart attacks over time, and have a significant increase in immune cell function.

King Solomon, years ago, wrote that happiness can do a lot of good like a medicine. Those with a cheerful attitude and who use humor as a way of coping with difficult life situations, do enjoy better health.

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By Winston J. Craig, R.D. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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