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Laughter Can Reduce Stress and Help Us Heal

March 12, 2014

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We have known for a long time that laughter can help us heal. Norman Cousins wrote extensively on this subject, and recent research has shown that laughter reduces at least four hormones associated with stress. In fact, laughter is one of the most powerful stress-reducing tools we have at our disposal. Laughter also helps increase the level of immunoglobulin A, which helps protect us from flu and cold viruses, as well as from upper respiratory problems. Laughter, especially a good belly laugh, is also a good source of cardiac exercise and promotes better breathing. It strengthens the breathing muscles in a natural way, and makes them more supple. It also helps clear the lungs of toxins.

I have written and spoken often of some of the workshops I attended with Taoist master Mantak Chia, who, as an exercise, frequently got the whole class (often more than 100 people) laughing for 10-15 minutes at a time. After such experiences many of us felt not only invigorated, but also relaxed, our breathing slower and fuller.

Try it sometimes with your friends. Sit together in a room and start making funny faces at one another. It won’t take long before you all find yourselves immersed in deep belly laughter. A few minutes of such laughter every day may well help your breathing, support your health and well-being, and lengthen your life.

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