Laugh Your Way to Less Stress and Better Health

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Stress Management, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Laughing Couple on BicycleWe all talk about being stressed, but did you know that April is actually Stress Awareness Month? I’m not sure if anyone planned it this way, but it’s also National Humor Month, which is definitely appropriate—since humor is the perfect antidote for stress.

National Humor Month was established back in 1976 by Larry Wilde, Director of the Institute of the Carmel Institute of Humor. Wilde’s reason for starting National Humor Month was to spread the message that laughter is extremely powerful medicine. I couldn’t agree more.

Positive emotions put us in a better frame of both mind and body. Studies have shown that laughter is a very effective antidote for chronic stress and pain. Laughter also inhibits the body's production of stress-related hormones, increases production of white blood cells, improves blood pressure and heart rate, and reduces tension.

Here are six ways to get your daily dose of laughter:

1.      Enjoy the comics section of your local newspaper.

2.      Buy a cartoon-a-day calendar and start each morning with a chuckle.

3.      Go to a comedy club.

4.      Rent your favorite funny movie.

5.      Read a book of jokes.

6.      Tell humorous stories of your past to your children and grandchildren.

Now it’s your turn: How do you add laughter to your life?

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