A little humour does the heart good

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” - Proverbs 17:22

…A burglar has just made it into the house he's intending ransacking, and he's looking around for stuff to steal. All of a sudden, a little voice pipes up, "I can see you, and so can Jesus!"

Startled, the burglar looks around the room. No one there at all, so he goes back to his business.

"I can see you, and so can Jesus!"

The burglar jumps again, and takes a longer look around the room. Over in the corner by the window, almost obscured by curtains, is a cage in which sits a parrot, who pops up again, "I can see you, and so can Jesus!"

"So what," says the burglar, "you're only a parrot!"
To which the parrot replies, "Maybe, but Jesus is a rottweiler!"

We can all do with a good dose of laughter in our lives. Just as there’s ‘a time to weep’, there’s also ‘a time to laugh’ Ecclesiates 3:4 Think about it, you’ve come back home from a hard days work or you've just come to the end of a demanding week; to enjoy the moment with a little laughter is a beautiful gift. Even in the mist of the stress and demands of life laughter is an amazing tool. I remember a film called “Patch Adams”. In this true story played by Robin Williams, Patch Adams held the belief that the health of an individual cannot be separated from the health of the family, community and the world. In the film he plays a medical student who although academically brilliant has another special weapon at his disposal – his ability to help patients heal by making them laugh and enjoy life. There’s a lot of truth to this film, because not every physical problem we face can be fixed with pills and treatment. Sometimes they’re mental and sometimes they’re spiritual.

The results of a recent study on the effect of laughter on cardiovascular health is very interesting. The study done at the Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, the University of Maryland School of Medicine on 7 March 2005 indicates that laughter is linked to the healthy function of blood vessels. (source: www.avma.org ‘Laugh yourself healthy’ - Studies show humor health) The researcher’s studies showed that while mental stress causes narrowing of blood vessels, laughter on the other hand appears to cause the endothelium (the interior surfaces of blood vessels) to dilate and increase blood flow. In particular, by laughing, blood flow was found to increase by more than 20 percent, with the positive effect lasting for up to 45 minutes.

Conversely, stress decreased blood flow by approximately 35 percent. Because impairment of the endothelium is a contributor to heart disease, researchers suggest that the ability to laugh could have implications in a country (USA) where heart disease remains the number one cause of death. Yet how much more could this affect the world?

Continuing research has also illustrated that laughter can even alter one's biochemical state by reducing stress hormones and increasing antibodies. In effect laughter can help to increase the body’s immune system hence helping to fight off illnesses and allergic symptoms.

Furthermore as well as the physical health benefits, humour offers cognitive, emotional, and social benefits. Examinations show that it takes both sides of the brain to actually produce a laugh, prompting researchers to claim that regular laughter can improve brain functioning and enhance learning.

Humour is something we often easily undervalue because we don’t always see its overall effect on us. It can come in the form of a book, a joke or can even be in the company of friends when grabbing a bite to eat or watching a movie. We should appreciate it because a little laughter does the body good.

God bless and protect
Chidi

www.thetotalman.com

Quote of the week:
You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humour in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.” - Bill Cosby

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