Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 21: The Best Medicine...

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” ~Psalm 126:2
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter [Job] and your lips with joyful shouting. ~ Job 8:21

A week and an half ago, I blogged about the benefits of smiling. Today I would like to tell you the benefits of laughter. Have you ever seen the Disney movie, Monster's Inc? It's a really cute movie about bedtime monsters having to scare children in order for their world to survive(I know this doesn't sound nice... haha) Will one day a child slips through into their world and laughs over the sight of one of them. Laughter ended up giving their world so much more than the screams did. Do you kinda get where I'm going in this? If not read below and hopefully you will get it.
(I did not write this, but got it off of a medical website...)
Is there anything better than a contagious giggle that you absolutely can’t control? (Ok, maybe not so good in school or church.) Laughter works wonderfully well in the moment, but it also has some surprising long-term health benefits. In the book A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits, author Sondra Kornblatt explores how laughter can truly make you feel better.
She writes that the new field of gelotology is exploring the benefits of laughter. It was brought to the public’s awareness in Norman Cousins’ memoir Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins found that comedies, like those of the Marx Brothers, helped him feel better and get some pain-free sleep. That’s because laughter helps the pituitary gland release its own pain-suppressing opiates.
What can laughter do?:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
  • Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
  • Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
  • Improve alertness, creativity, and memory
Humor and creativity work in similar ways, says humor guru William Fry, M.D., of Stanford University–by creating relationships between two disconnected items, you engage the whole brain.
Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.

So let’s laugh more. A lot of us are way too serious at times, the world needs our laughter more than you could ever know... and so do you.

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