LAUGH YOUR STRESS AWAY
Humor is a terrific stress-reducer and antidote to all manner of upsets, including your fear of flying. It has been clinically proven to be effective in combating the worst of stress.
Experts know that a good laugh relaxes tense muscles, sends more oxygen into your system, quicker and lowers your blood pressure.
So next time you feel yourself start to tense up, tune into your favorite comedy on television. Read a funny book. Call up a good friend and laugh heartily for a few good minutes. It doesn’t even hurt to just force a good laugh now and then. You'll find your stress melting away with each breath!
Americans were attracted to humor while reading the stories of Norman Cousins. This man successfully overcame cancer by watching his favorite comedy shows on television.
These days, you can attend an organized humor meeting and even in places such as India where laughing in a public place is frowned upon.
Dr. Lee Berk, along with fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, has taken up carefully controlled studies that show the experience of laughter lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the amount of activated T lymphocytes, increases the number and activity of natural killer cells, and increases the number of T cells that have helper/ suppresser receptors.
This is powerful evidence that laughter stimulates the immune system and this off-sets the immunosuppressive effects of stress. Laughter is powerful medicine!
Research has proven that laughter can lower cortisol levels and thereby protects our immune system.
The emotions and moods that we are all subject to directly effects our immune system. It makes perfect sense, then, that when we cultivate a mood of humor this allows us to perceive and appreciate the everyday nuances of life through experiences of joy and delight.
Such positive states of mood and emotion creates neurochemical changes that act to buffer the immunosuppressive effects of stress.
Stress research pioneer, Selye, noted that a person's interpretation of stress is not dependent only on an external event; it also depends on the perception of the event and the meaning given to it.
This points to the fact that we can learn to control our reaction to stress. How we look at a situation, then, determines if we will respond to it as a threat or as a challenge.
Humor gives us an entirely different perspective on our problems. If we can perceive it in a lighter bent it is no longer a threat to us. We have already discounted its effect by lightening it. With such an attitude we serve to self-protect and so control our environment.
**Bill Cosby coined an important phrase when he said, "If you can laugh at it, you can survive it."
It's certainly very difficult to force a laugh while in a stressful situation. However, that's precisely the time when you need to laugh the most. Remember, the trick is to take control over your environment or situation. That way you are more apt to feel challenged and less threatened.
Any way you can slice it – lighten up and feel less stress. Calm over chaos is the phrase of the day. Begin by trying to find humor in the worst of situations. If you must, blow the situation way out of proportion, just to make yourself laugh. Make the serious look ridiculous. When you reach the point of absurdity, you can then begin to melt and calm. Practice makes perfect!