I Don’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry


Feeling a little stressed lately?  Time for a science lesson.

According to Dr. William Frey of the Dry Eye and Tear Research Center in Minneapolis, 85% of women and 73% of men reported feeling better after crying while under emotional stress.  The lacrimal gland in the eyes regulates tear secretion.  It also concentrates manganese, a necessary mineral related to moods, and tears remove this concentrated mineral from the body.

Dr. Frey’s research shows that the concentration of manganese is 30 times greater in tears than what is found in the blood.  The reason that is interesting is that autopsies of chronic depressives have revealed heavy concentrations of manganese in the brain that don’t appear in the brains of non-depressives.  As a result, manganese is believed to have a direct link to depression.  Tears clean the mineral out of the body, so tears are thought to be an effective, natural way of preventing depression from occurring.

Other studies have found that healthy people are more likely to cry and have a positive attitude toward tears than those with ulcers or colitis, two conditions thought to be stress-related.  And children who suffer from an inherited disease called familial dysautonomia have two things in common: they can’t produce tears, and they have an extremely low tolerance for emotional stress.

But if you don’t feel much like crying, try a good laugh.

Laughter helps to lower the potent stress hormone cortisol, which can cause bone loss and suppress the immune system.  Laughter also increases the production of endorphins, which combat fatigue and depression. Laughter can in the long-term reduce blood pressure and slow heart rate, as well, leaving you feeling calm and peaceful.

Adults tend to take things (and themselves) too seriously.  How often do you hear of a child with stress-related disorders?  Hopefully not too often.  Laughter may be the reason.  Studies show that children laugh on the average 400 times per day. Adults, by contrast, only laugh an average of fifteen times per day!  We’ve got some catching up to do!

So, if you want to reduce your stress level, run to the video store tonight and check out a movie that will make you laugh until you cry.

(S – Center for Traditional Medicine, 560 First Street, Suite 204, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034, 503-636-2734, http://www.myctm.org/NP08.html)

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Filed under Attitude, brain, discomfort, emotions, fatigue, funny, health, humor, pressure, Sharpening the Saw, Suffering

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