Laughter is Good for All

Santhanam Nagarajan

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Orison Swett Marden in his book Cheerfulness states two facts regarding Abraham Lincoln. He states:

1)“Humour was Lincoln’s life-preserver, as it has been for thousands of others. ’If it were not for this’, he used to say, ‘ I should die’. His jests and quaint stories lighted the gloom of dark hours of national peril. "

2) In a corner of his desk, Lincoln kept a copy of the latest humorous work; and it was frequently his habit, when fatigued, annoyed, or depressed, to take this up, and read a chapter with great relief. Human beings are the only species blessed by God to laugh. Humour is the cheapest luxury a man can enjoy. Human alone can transfer the depression into brightness, sickness into health and can spread easily from one person to another without incurring any cost.

Folk wisdom has always called laughter the best medicine. Now Scientists also agree! Latest research shows that a good belly laugh has the power to reduce pain, illness and stress.

In a study reported in American Journal of the National Cancer Institute ten healthy men were shown an hour-long tape of funny antics. While they laughed, researchers noted that their bodies produced greater quantities of an important healing chemical, interferon-gamma. Protective chemicals which fight respiratory and other infections also went up. As the men laughed, the brain released more natural painkillers and levels of stress hormone in their body went down.

Another study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore reveals that laugher along with an active sense of humour may help protect heart attack.

The director of the centre Michael Miller says, “ The old saying that laughter is the best medicine definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart"

Arthur Stone, a professor of psychoneural immunology at the State University of New York, who has pioneered research on the effects of laughter, has provided the conclusive evidence yet of a link between laughter and immunoglobulin A, an antibody which helps fight illness by marking out harmful invading bacteria and viruses. Another vital chemical triggered by laughter is cytokines, dubbed “happy hormone". Lee Berk , professor of immunology at Loma Linda University in California, shows that increased cytokine levels promote the activity of white blood cells which specialize in fighting invading bacteria and viruses and destroy potential tumour cells.

Peg Jordan, Health and Fitness expert quotes Leigh Anne Jashway to enumerate the benefits of laughter. In her book , Don’t Get Mad, Get Funny, the Humorist Leigh Anne lists the major physiological and psychological benefits.

The benefits of laughter:-

1)Increases antibodies in saliva that combat upper respiratory infections.
2)Decreases serum cortisol, thus providing an antidote for the harmful effects of stress.
3)Secretes an enzyme that protects the stomach from forming ulcers.
4)Conditions the abdominal muscles.
5)Relaxes muscles throughout the body.
6)Aids in reducing symptoms of neuralgia and rheumatism.
7)Changes perspective.
8) Has positive benefits on mental functions.
9)Improves ventilation, thus helping reduce chronic respiratory conditions.
10)Reduces blood pressure and heart rate.
11)Liberates interleukin-2 and other immune boosters.
12)Helps the body fight infection.
13)Releases endorphins which provide natural pain relief.
14)Helps move nutrients and oxygen to body tissues.
15)Makes you feel good!
More and more research studies also confirm that laughter makes a healthy difference in body chemistry. Hence as advised by scientists, we may go ahead and laugh as often as we can! For laughter is the best medicine and good for all!

S. Nagarajan is a vehicle body engineer by profession. He has written more than 1300 articles in 16 magazines and published 18 books so far. He is revealing Eastern Secret Wisdom through T. V. Programmes, magazine articles, seminars, courses. His email address is : .


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