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Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
Research suggests the simple act of yucking it up is effective in treating diabetes, chronic pain, and stress. Scientists are examining how laughter can help:
PROTECT THE HEART A Loma Linda University study of diabetic patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol found that those who viewed humorous movies or TV shows for 30 minutes a day improved their HDL (good cholesterol) levels and reduced their levels of inflammatory compounds known as C-reactive proteins.
BOOST IMMUNITY A study of 18 adolescents done in collaboration with UCLA showed that people who watched humorous programming had a greater tolerance to pain.
SOOTHE STRESS Another Loma Linda University study revealed that laughter helps lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 39 percent.
BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR A Japanese study of 19 diabetics found that participants had lower glucose levels after watching a comedy show.
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.
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