Live in the moment.
We’re touching bases to see if you have any questions and/or comments about your experience thus far.
Dr. Elaine and James
In the face of significant stress, medical students face increasing anxiety and laughter is a viable tool to immediately reduce stress.
Have you ever caught someone else’s boisterous laughter? Of course you have! Stronger bonds are formed when laughter is shared, and nothing beats the feeling of happiness when you indeed share a great laugh with another. Did you know that laughter is also now confirmed as a powerful medicine?
A continuously expanding body of medical research recognizes the benefits of laughter in terms of preventing and reversing disease caused by the impact of stressful events on our lives. This finding isn’t actually as new as it appears to be. Throughout history, and for thousands of years, sages have recognized the importance of laughter, as recorded in the ancient scriptures. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” says the Bible (Proverbs 17:22).
The Healing Laughter Revolution
In 1964 when the contemporary idea of humor therapy was reborn for our time. Shortly after a trip to the Soviet Union, Norman Cousins, former editor of Saturday Review, was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a progressive, degenerative disease of collagen tissue often affecting the spine. His doctors indicated heavy metal poisoning as a possible cause of his illness.
Mr. Cousins, on the other hand, suspected that a stress-induced condition of adrenal exhaustion lessened his body’s ability to tolerate repeated toxic exposure to diesel exhaust fumes during his travels. He then recalled reading about a research that concluded negative emotions caused biochemical changes that had deleterious effects on the body. He theorized that positive emotions might create changes in the body that would enhance his recovery process. With the assistance of his very open-minded physician, he checked into a hotel and laughed for hours watching Marx Brothers and Three Stooges movies, while an IV infused with large amounts of vitamin C flowed into his veins.
He reported that watching the films decreased his pain and helped him to sleep better. Significant changes in his blood chemistry were recorded. The sedimentation rate (an indicator of inflammation) was taken daily, before and after “laughter” sessions; significant decreases were noted after. Cousins’ controversial personal account was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It prompted an outpouring of disbelief and heated discussion within medical circles.
His book, Anatomy of an Illness, became a best-seller and is now considered a classic in the world of mind-body medicine. So if you feel like catching someone else’s contagious laughter, by all means do so! Nothing’s wrong with letting out a hearty laugh every now and then. Furthermore, you could already be doing your health a big favor in the process.
The 1998 film, “Patch Adams,” starring Robin Williams, triggered a flurry of attention and renewed interest in the use of laughter as therapy? Based on a true story, Williams portrayed a doctor who saw and used humor as an important component of medical treatment.
Health tip: Laugh several times a day. Children laugh over three hundred times a day, while adults, usually laugh under twenty times daily.
It seems like today we are more stressed than ever, without any relief in sight. Throughout history, our ancestors around the globe, recognized the connection between stress, emotions, attitudes, physical health and long term well-being.
The presence of unmanaged emotional stress increases the risk of developing heart disease and cancer six times in comparison to standard risk facts including obesity, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, and hypertension. But the good news is-it is far more responsive to intervention.
Also, according to a government report and the American Stress Institute-it’s also the cause of 90-95% of all doctor’s office visits.
Haven’t you seen people do all of the right things and still get sick? They exercised, ate the right food, and you wondered what happened to them? Clearly something else was going on. They probably ignored their emotions which wreaked havoc on their health. Then they went to their doctors to get treatment for their symptoms.
A study found that men who complain of high anxiety are up to six times more likely to suffer sudden death than calmer men. While a twenty year study at the Harvard School of Public health involving over 1700 men conducted at the found that worry about social conditions, health and personal finances all significantly increased the risk of heart disease.
Did you know that more heart attacks occur on Monday morning? They do because of the extremely stressful emotional changes caused by not wanting to go to work on the dreaded Monday morning, after a weekend off!
Whatever you feel is REAL to your cells, even if you know it isn’t true. Every thought, feeling and emotion you experience triggers the release of matching chemicals that affect all of your cells. It’s normal to have emotional ups and downs, that’s part of being human. However, it’s your ongoing emotional trend that affects your health. So if you’re trending with ongoing stress and anxiety—you’re trending in the direction of dis-ease.
The most important question I learned to ask my patients is, “What’s making you sick?” Everyone knew. Over 95% identified an extremely difficult, stressful emotional situation, usually involving a family member as the cause. Even though they knew the cause, they didn’t know what to do about it. It’s not our jobs, or our relationships, or the news that’s making us sick. It’s how we respond to them. We always have a choice. We can choose a healthier response.
The rest of my patients identified chronic stress as the problem, and didn’t understand how it was now causing the disease, since it had been going on for so long. I reminded them that it takes years of cigarette smoking, to cause cancer, and it doesn’t happen after smoking one pack. The same is true of stress. It can take years to create a disease.
So we must interrupt the stress response. Here’s a few effective ways to immediately interrupt the stress response.
- Take Theanine. This is my favorite recommendation. Theanine is a powerful stress interrupter. It is the best nutrient interrupter I have ever found! It is an amino acid extract from green tea, and biochemically stops the stress response, without any side effects.
- Taking B complex- or adaptogenic herbs-Rhodiola, Ginseng, Ashwaganda,
- Stress is also linked to magnesium deficiency
- Or you can close your eyes and focus on a very pleasant memory for a few minutes.
- Another way is to laugh. Laughter is one of the easiest ways to interrupt the flow of toxins. Call a friends, and ask them to tell you a joke or you can watch a comedy. Watch a funny movie.
- What always work is deep breathing.
How to Breathe Properly:
Place one hand over the middle of your abdomen and the other hand in the middle of your chest. Now breathe regularly.
Which hand moved?
If the hand on your abdomen moves, you’re breathing properly. If the hand on your chest moves, your breathing is a little shallow. If both move, you need to focus more on breathing from your abdomen.
Most breathe primarily with our chest muscles, which sends a survival mode signal to your brain that something’s wrong. The healthy way, involves the diaphragm. Your abdomen drops when you inhale and pulls in when you exhale. Practice this for a few days and you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.
You will feel better. You’re detoxifying through breathing and you will feel better.
These profoundly simple tools s will help you to go from feeling overwhelmed and anxious to feeling empowered balanced and competent.
SuperHealing Secrets with Dr. Elaine Ferguson