The Benefits Of Laughter In A Stress Management Program

Anatomy of Illness written by Norman Cousins, is a
book based on the true story of how this man treated
his own painful illness. Cousins had a theory that
there was more to the old saying, Laughter is the best
medicine, than many people realize.

In modern times society has come to understand that
stress has a negative impact on both physical and
mental health. What is not as commonly understood is
that laughter has many positive health benefits, which
can counteract the negative affects of the stress
response.

Laughter increases the functioning of the immune
system, helping the body to fight off illness and
disease. Studies have demonstrated that laughter
causes the increased production of catecholamines and
endorphins. These chemicals, when released by the
brain into the blood stream during laughter, increase
feelings of happiness and well-being.

Laughter also decreases the secretion of cortisol as
well as the sedimentation rate, and therefore is
beneficial in stimulating the body’s immune system.

During laughter, the flow of Oxygen in the blood
increases. Arteries relax, heart rate and blood
temperature are lowered, circulation increases and the
skin temperature rises. All of these physical
responses have a beneficial effect on both
cardiovascular and respiratory health.

Laughter has the potential to help speed healing, and
increase overall health and well-being, when it’s
benefits are fully realized as a part of a stress
management plan.

While the average human being laughs approximately 8
to 10 times daily, a stress management plan which
includes laughter as a part of the daily program would
include rigorous “laughing” as an exercise to be
performed several times throughout the day.

Full belly laughter, which is an involuntary response
of the human brain, can be triggered by watching
comedies, listening to comedians, telling jokes or
just allowing oneself to participate in fun and silly
activities.