Welcome to the 7h Humormeister's Forum edition

Summer is fast coming to an end. I hope that you all had a great summer with lots of humor and laughter! With the start of the Fall season, return to school for the kids, and the upcoming Fall and Winter Holidays, I thought that it would be appropriate to do a newsletter article on managing stress.

Managing stress with laughter

Approximately 85% of people who visit their family physician do so because of stress.

More people these days are on antidepressants than any other time in history. Stress has proven to be deadly to the immune system according to Dr. Lee Berk, Associate Professor of Public Health and Medicine at Loma Linda University in California.

So what is the answer? In a world of continuous escalating stress, Dr. Berk tells us to laugh more. For it is a known fact that we can't laugh and be stressed at the same time.

Dr. Berk in his studies assessed mood states. Apparently moods changed when people enjoyed themselves, laughed and were happy. The studies showed that in this mood change, people were less depressed, less anxious and displayed more vigor.

The studies further showed that laughter can lower detrimental stress hormones like epinephrine ( adrenaline) and cortisol. Laughter also enhances endorphins, which can elevate your mood and optimize the various components of the immune system.

Even the anticipation, or expectation of an enjoyable and happy experience, such as going out for dinner with your spouse or friend causes a person to experience enjoying positive effects prior to it happening according to Dr. Berk.

In addition to laughter, Dr. Berk lists 5 things to produce a stress resistant brain:

- a belief system ( belief in a higher being ) - social interaction - humor - exercise - intimacy

Dr. Berk agrees with Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of 'Laughter Yoga,'statement: "We jog for no reason other than the health benefits, so why not laugh for no reason, because there are health benefits."