FIT TO LAUGH

 July 29, 2011

     Who doesn't enjoy belly laughing? What's more fun and bonding than having a good laugh with someone? This spontaneous expression of joy turns out to have a cascade of positive effect on your mind as well as your body. And more good news is that there are no negative side effects.

     My husband, Dr. Mehrad Nazari, has been immersed in the research behind laughter and happiness and for the last few years I have been a part of his audience, most recently at the award winning health and fitness spa, Rancho La Puerta. There he got eeryone laughing uproariously for the "lab" portion of his presentation.

     One of the outstanding benefits of laughter is its effect on the immune system. It increases almost all of the various immune cells and boosts their response to invaders. Remember Norman Cousins? He healed himself of a hopeless disease by watching funny movies. As a result t of his discovery, you can find funny movies in almost all hospitals across the country today.

     Laughter has been found to effect pain. While you're laughing you forget about your pain. It also reduces blood pressure especially in women. It's like internal jogging for the respiratiory system and is helpful for most breathing issues.

    Not only does actual laughing help you out immensely physically, but researchers have discovered that simply anticipating laughter has almost the same wonderful effects. That means that from the moment you decide to go to that comedy movie, your system goes into laughter mode, even if you aren't there yet. And to make mattiers better, even forced laughter is terrific for you.

     So it's not a bad idea to have a little 15 second laughing session with yourself first thing in the morning or any time during the day. And don't feel ridiculous. Remember, humor is not incompatible with dignity and stature!