Pillar 7: Coping With Stress
Laugh More Stress Less
Is it really possible that ten good belly laughs a day will help you cope with some of the stress in your life?
How can you tell if you are “stressed out”? Monitor your own body!
Don’t relax—quickly check these five parts of your body.
- Do you have a furrowed brow?
- Is your jaw clenched?
- Are your shoulders slouched?
- Are your toes curled under?
- Do you feel “tight” in your shoulder muscles, arms, legs, hands, or buttocks?
Want to know how to unload the stress in your life? Click here to order your copy of The Seven Pillars of Health and find out how Dr. Colbert worked through his own stress issues.
Click here to read an excerpt from Day 46: “The Power of Laughter and Joy.”
One of the most unusual prescriptions I give to many of my patients is to have at least ten belly laughs a day. True laughing offers one of the most powerful and natural healing methods without any side effects. Laughter lowers the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. It increases feel-good hormones. It keeps you squarely in the present moment. It helps you to reframe and feel thankful, and it helps you to see negative events in a more positive light. There’s not a single bad thing laughter will do for your body and mind.
Dr. Colbert Approved
Get ten good belly laughs today. Good belly laughs are the equivalent of getting a good aerobic exercise workout.
One study, however, stated that Americans feel happy just 54 percent of the time. They say they feel neutral about 25 percent of the time and sad 21 percent of the time. If that’s true, there are not a lot of happy people in the United States.
Has it ever occurred to you that you were created to be happy and filled with joy? The Bible declares:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
—Philippians 4:4, NIV
The psalmist declared of God:
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
—Psalm 16:11, NKJV
Nehemiah told the workers who were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem:
The joy of the Lord is your strength.
When you laugh, powerful chemicals called endorphins, which act much the same way as morphine, are released in the brain. Endorphins trigger a feeling of well-being throughout your entire body and relieve pain.
In the Department of Behavioral Medicine of the UCLA Medical School, a man named Norman Cousins conducted extensive research into the physical benefits of happiness. He established the Humor Research Task Force that coordinated worldwide clinical research on humor. His research proved conclusively that laughter, happiness, and joy are perfect antidotes for stress.
A good hearty laugh can help:
- Reduce stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Elevate mood
- Boost the immune system
- Improve brain functioning
- Protect the heart
- Connect you to others
- Foster instant relaxation
- Make you feel good