Laugh Your Blues Away!

Since the beginning, stress has been with us. The first people had to always be on the alert in order to avoid being lunch for saber-toothed tigers or some other carnivore that enjoyed an easy meal. Since day once, laughter has been the best medicine.

The stressful events that these folks dealt with make current stresses appear tame. In today’s world, wild animals are no longer lurking in the shadows, but stress is always there, waiting in the wings.

The steady stream of remedies for reducing stress is as varied as the causes. You want therapy? Take your pick. There’s psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy and physiotherapy. Are pharmaceutical concoctions your drug of choice? Ask your doctor about the benefits of XENIX, Ativan, Valium or Busbar. If you are interested in the mind-body-spirit connection, try focusing on exercise, yoga, meditation, biofeedback or spirituality. These are just a few of the solutions to stress that are currently recommended.

One underestimated stress-reducing activity that is available to all of us at a moments notice is laughter. Because laughter is inexpensive and easy to do, it no doubt suffers from a lack of perceived value. Most of us have been brainwashed into thinking we have to pay for something in order for it to have worth. Laughter may come cheap, but as folk wisdom tells us, it is also the best medicine.

When we laugh, a number of positive physiological processes take place. The lungs and the circulatory system are stimulated. Laughter forces us to use our diaphragm, which is responsible for respiration. As a result, our cardiovascular system benefits because the deep respiration that occurs during laughter increases the oxygen in the blood. When you stop laughing, your pulse rate drops and your muscles relax. The last feelings you will experience immediately after a good belly laugh are tension and stress.

People with a good sense of humor are able to see something worth joking about even in the midst of difficult and stressful situations. In fact, a large number of movies and television programs are centered on this phenomenon. If you carefully evaluate almost any comedic movie or TV program, you will see that writers have composed scripts based on situations that are emotionally painful and extremely stressful. Writers use their considerable skills to create dialogue that transforms situations that most would dread when facing into comedies that we love to watch.

This is certainly not a new trend. Two of the earliest situation comedies were ” I Love Lucy ” and ” The Honeymooners.” These shows are as popular now as when they were produced. Who can explain the attraction? Do we enjoy watching Lucy’s husband scream at her because of all the foolish things she does? Is it fun to watch Ralph Cramdon wave his fist in his wife’s face and shout “To the moon Alice, to the moon!”? Recent shows are no different. Consider the eagerly anticipated final episode of “Seinfield”. The show ended with everyone sitting in a jail cell. Now that’s funny.

In the future, when you face a painful or stressful situation, rather than getting the blues or having an anxiety attack, try laughing till your head hurts.

After all, if you watch TV and go to the movies, you have seen this process at work often enough and probably practiced it yourself. Next time you are in crisis, take your real life drama and treat it like a situation comedy. Like they say: “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”

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