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John Bullis: Laugh away your stress and pain

John R. Bullis

We all know how to laugh. Our high stress and fast paced world seems to not give the time and focus to let loose a giggle. Recent research has found the effects of a good chuckle can reduce stress and pain, boost the immune system, provide social connections and make people happier.

A good laugh can have health benefits that include stretching our muscles, increase our pulse, make our blood pressure go up a bit and we breathe faster-sending more oxygen to our tissues. It can help you feel relaxed through your entire body.

Scientists don’t know if the physical act of chuckling is that beneficial or whether people who laugh just have a positive mental attitude, but both traits have been shown to increase how long we live (and how well).

Studies have shown laughter can turn negative thoughts (which cause stress), into positive ones by decreasing stress hormones. The ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and seems to boost the levels of immune cells.

Laughter increases your oxygen intake, stimulates your heat, lung and muscles. It seems to trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good chemicals. It can increase the function of blood vessels and increase the blood flow to your heart. That seems to help protect against a heart attack

Laughter may ease pain by causing your body to produce its own natural painkillers. It can certainly help reduce depression and anxiety. That will make you happier, even if only for a short while. Studies indicate a good, hearty laugh can leave your muscles relaxed for as much as 45 minutes and it also can improve your sleep.

Maybe you can watch a funny movie or television show. Read the newspaper funny pages. Seek out and spend time with funny people. Share a good joke or a funny story.

Playing with a pet can help. Go ahead and goof around with children by doing something silly. Just making time for fun activities can give opportunities for can trigger a good, hearty chuckle or two!

As my grandfather that started a mortuary in Montana that is still run by an uncle and a cousin of mine, “Life is short. Have some fun as time goes by!”

Did you hear? “Burn the candles. Use the nice sheets, wear the fancy clothes. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.” — Anonymous.

John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser who has served Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs.