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June 20, 2018  |  Login
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.

A good laugh can go a long way toward reducing the effects of stress. Research shows that laughter prevents inflammatory triggers that lead to heart and artery damage, and it reduces the effects of stress. Research done at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that laugher and a good sense of humor resulted in protection against heart disease. In this study, researchers evaluated the responses of three hundred people to potentially humorous situations. For example, one questionnaire asked how they would respond to a specific scenario that could cause a stress response, such as having a drink accidentally spilled on them by a waiter while dining with friends, or arriving at a party dressed in clothing identical to one of the other guests. People with the highest "humor scores" had a 48 percent lower risk of heart disease, independent of their age or sex. However, those with heart disease were much less likely to use humor as an adaptive mechanism.

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