Stress and Laughter and the Immune System

How Stress and Laughter Affect the Immune System

One minute of anger, stress, or anxiety weakens the immune system for four to five hours, while one minute of laughter boosts the immune system for over twenty-four hours.   I’ve read these profound statements in several different places recently. I believe scientists are on to something.

When chatting with a friend recently, I was reminded that anger causes stress. That conversation provided inspiration for this post.

How the Immune System Works

Better Health Channel explains the immune system as follows:

  • The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. 
  • The immune system keeps a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated so it can recognise and destroy the microbe quickly if it enters the body again.
  • Abnormalities of the immune system can lead to allergic diseases, immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders.

For those reasons, it is important to keep our immune systems at peak performance.

Why Anger and Stress is Unhealthy

Think about it for a minute.  When something or someone angers you, your blood pressure rises, your heart races, and you get a sick feeling in your stomach.  I know I do.  But did you realize that the sick feeling you get can manifest into something more sinister if it persists?  

The sick feeling resulting from anger or stress spreads throughout the body, wreaking havoc on all organs. It has been scientifically proven that stress has been linked to many health conditions and disease states.

How Stress and Laughter Affect the Immune System
Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Why Laughter is Healthy

Conversely, after a good laugh, you feel great and stress or tension is relieved. This improves your mood, your outlook, and even your physical appearance!  Check out a previous article listing the specific scientific benefits of laughter.

Laughter is contagious as well. Difficult or awkward conversations or situations can be diffused with some levity.

Have you ever noticed that some people giggle or laugh awkwardly when stressed? It may appear that their laughter is insensitive or inappropriate, but alternatively, most likely their way of trying to diffuse the stress or awkwardness. I am one of those non-confrontational people that prefer to diffuse rather than fuel a volatile reaction.

How Stress and Laughter Affect the Immune System
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Replacing Anger and Stress in Your Life

If you find yourself in any situation that evokes prolonged and unresolvable anger, angst, tension, stress, or sadness, move on and let it go before you cause any permanent damage to your health

Personal relationships are trickier to remove yourself from, especially the long-term ones. The process is much easier said than done, with lots of complications. Professional counseling, however, will most likely encourage extrication from these relationships and offer detailed steps on how to do so.

The Covid pandemic has resulted in a major increase in mental health issues. Fortunately, awareness of these issues and support for those affected have increased as well. Many governments are now willing to spend money on mental health programs, including online options.

photo credit

Laugh or Cry

What’s that saying again?  If you don’t laugh, you will cry….something like that.  With the exception of the true introverts that are enjoying these social distancing, quarantine or self-isolation times, the rest of us feel often feel like crying. Or pulling our hair out.

But then we find something to laugh about and it does cheer us up, if only for a short time.  These are a few of the laughter inducing pictures circulating on Facebook that  I have saved over the past few months. I hope they make you laugh too, as laughter is indeed the best medicine …

 

This one refers to our Canadian Prime Minister. When he sticks to his scripted notes, he sounds quite reasonable.  Otherwise, maybe because of the fact that he was a drama teacher before he became PM, this happens…

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And, I would be remiss if I didn’t add a few about the POTUS, as there have been lots…

 

I hope I provided a chuckle or two.  If you have other sources of laugher, please share them!

 

Feature picture (top) credit to Pexels

This Sign Makes me Laugh every Morning…

I have to chuckle when I see this sign each morning I drive my son to school.  It is located at the roadside of a parkland setting that is surrounded by a new Urbandale housing development here in Kanata:

cropped bird sign

Most times I only wish I had my camera to take a picture so I could share the humour with you; today is your lucky day…

Obviously the park is used by nature lovers not happy with the new development.  I am not sure why a City of Ottawa sign is there anyway, but someone found a clever and humorous use for it!