The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

You’re Something Special

Humor Reduces Stress

Reason #3 God Gave Us Humor

By Ron Ross

God made us able to laugh because there’s nothing like a hardy, har, har, har to reduce our stress! God knows we have enough stress in our world. Here are a few stunning statistics about stress I found on

• Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.

• Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

• Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.

• The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

I feel stress just writing about stress!

What’s the best relief for stress? A vacation. Sure – who doesn’t like a holiday on the beach. How about a quiet day at home without any children? Yup, that would work. What if you could get a nice raise and a reduction in the number of hours you have to work? Ahhh – that sounds like a great stress-reducer.

Each of those is possible, but they are not readily available. Humor is. And humor, especially laughter, reduces the negative impacts of stress.

Dr. Lee Berk, an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California, says your mind, hormone system, and immune system continuously communicate in ways that affect your mood as well as your ability to fight off a variety of sicknesses and diseases.

According to the doctor, stress induces hormones which inhibit your immune system from doing its job. Researchers continue to link significant ailments to stress.

Do you feel your shoulders tightening? Do you sense a headache coming on? Is some looming danger causing fear in your heart?

Here is one thing you can do right now to stop the negative impact of stress on your mind, heart, and body: LAUGH.

Laughter, according to Dr. Berk, “appears to cause all the reciprocal, or opposite, effects of stress.” He says laughter helps your body produce the feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine while at the same time, it shuts down the release of those nasty stress hormones like cortisol.

Laughter also impacts your brain positively. Your brain is made up of a complex network of neurons, the building blocks of your nervous system. They transmit information to and from the brain via your very complex nervous system. Laughter changes for better the way your brain’s billions of neurons communicate with one another.

To get the most of out of laughter as a medicine, a couple of hints: First of all, you will get better results if you laugh with other people. Fact is, a crowded room of laughing people increases the amount of laughter in the room. Laughter begets laughter.

Second hint: laugh out loud. Humor is good and improves your mood, but laughter, especially guffawing, belly laughter, a great big hardy-har-har, does the most to help reduce stress. That’s why you always feel so good, so relaxed, so happy after you’ve had a good laugh.

©2014 Ronald D. Rosss

To read all of Dr. Ross’ columns visit Subscribe to his weekly newsletter and receive your free copy of Acquire Confidence, a compilation of Acquire Confidence columns.

Dr. Ross is the publisher of Tidbits of Greeley. Dr. Ross is also the Voice of Tidbits Radio on 1310KFKA Every Sunday from 11am – noon. He is available to speak at your service club or other event. Dr. Ross posts this blog each week on To contact him email: or call 970.475.4829.