you can laugh at it, you can survive it." Bill Cosby.
next time you feel a cold coming on, the best thing to do may be to
fire up the VCR with a Marx Brothers movie-at least according to Dr.
Judith Kupersmith, a neuropsychiatrist at Texas Tech Medical Center.
It is well documented that stress provokes anxiety, is a serious threat
to emotional health, and leads to a depressed immune system. Humor is
one of the best ways to take the edge off a stressful situation, so
it makes sense that laughing would help boost your natural defenses.
the preliminary research seems to bear this out. Laughter lowers levels
of the stress hormone serum cortisol, and increases the number of T-lymphocytes
and T-cells, the body's natural defense mechanism. Even more important,
a good belly laugh can provide a cathartic release of emotional tension.
Who doesn't feel better after that?
can also give us a new perspective on a situation, and that frequently
leads to a feeling of greater control. When all seems darkest, try a
shift in your perception:
- Laugh at
yourself. Acknowledge your imperfections, and see if your shortcomings
can amuse, rather than infuriate or upset you.
loves company. Research shows you are 30 times more likely to
laugh with others than alone. So call up your friends or family, and
invite them over for Joke Fest-whichever joke gets the most groans,
wins a prize.
- Study your
humor. Get to know what makes you chuckle-is it the comics? Playing
with a pet? Start a video library with all your favorite comedies.
practice, practice. A sense of humor is like a muscle-the more
you flex it, the stronger it gets. Make it a habit to laugh every
day, and you may find that it becomes second nature to grin when things
We can be our own
Sarah Ban Breathnach
Sister Alice Williams
Stella Resnick, Ph.D.
Tell Me More
Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.
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