If you can only muster one mind-body activity today, make it a genuine gut-busting, milk-out-the-nose-spraying, wake-up-the-neighbors braying spell of laughter. It’s not just a temporary reprieve from the madness that we call “reality.” A blasting, snorting, teeth-baring laugh has definitive health benefits. Among them are the following:
Reduce anxiety. You don’t need a clinical psychologist to tell you that laughter instantly relieves your body’s stress response. If you’re laughing, you relax. But it is funny that people have felt the need to research this point.
Sort of like a scientific study on the benefits of brushing your teeth. Guess what? If you don’t brush them, you will get cavities, gingivitis, bacterial infections, and die! And speaking of dentists, here’s little joke:
A pregnant woman learns from her dentist that she needs a root canal. She says to the dentist, “darn … I’d just as soon give birth as have a root canal”. The dentist replies, “well, make up your mind so I know what position to put the chair in”.
Burn calories —a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, researchers found the physical act of intense laughing gives your body a mini-workout similar to aerobic exercise. This being America, some enterprising souls have combined the two.
Positive jolt to your immune system — According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who laugh increase the number of activated T cells and natural killer cells.
In the right hands, even hideous, ungodly trauma can be funny. (Or not. This all depends on how elastic your sense of humor is.) Take Robert Schimmel, a professional funnyman whose 11-year-old son died of leukemia. While he was devasted as a dad, as a comedian, his job was to find something to balance the gloom. This is what he came up with:
“My son’s last request when Make-A-Wish came was to see his father get oral sex from Dolly Parton. To this day, his wish remains unfulfilled.”*
So fight back against the complete and utter ridiculousness of our political system, our PC culture, our information-age antics, our attempts at garnering accolades for mindless jobs well done, and our grasping and clawing for more of whatever it is that we want more of. The best way to react to the trauma, the indignities, and the current crop of presidential contenders is by laughing like a hyena with Pseudobulbar Effect.
*By the way, at the end of his career Bob Schimmel needed a liver transplant, was being sued for divorce from his much younger wife, and had moved back in with his parents when he got too sick to make a living — at which point he was killed in a car accident. Schimmel mined each of these experiences to make people laugh. Except for the car accident, that is.
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