Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS Relief May be a Laugh Away

Boost Your Body's Internal Healing Engine with a Bit of Levity

Laughing will not cure IBS. However, stress is a common trigger for irritable bowel syndrome - and laughter reduces stress. It is a type of positive thinking that helps you relax; it promotes healthy changes in the body's chemistry; and it makes you feel better.

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

• A good laugh has immediate effects that can last for up to 45 minutes.

• When you laugh, endorphins ("feel good" chemicals) are released into the body. Endorphins are natural painkillers and depression fighters.

• Laughter stimulates the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and boosting infection-fighting processes.

• Laughing actually decreases pain and provides a distraction from stressful situations.

• According to the British Dental Health Foundation, smiling gives more pleasure than sex or chocolate! Clinical tests revealed that a smile provides as much stimulation as eating 2000 chocolate bars or receiving £16,000 in cash.

How to Increase the Laughter in Your Life

• Watch comedy series and movies on TV.

• Read funny books.

• Locate funny videos on YouTube. Bookmark them and watch whenever you are feeling down.

• Collect funny photos from your social network and create a humorous slideshow on your computer.

• Collect photos of people laughing or smiling for another slideshow. The mere act of watching someone laughing invokes a positive response in your own body.

• Listen to laughter. It awakens the same response as watching people laugh. This is why comedy shows on television have a laugh track. Laughter is infectious.

• Enlarge and hang any personal funny photos that you might have. Better yet, carry copies on your cell phone for instant smiles no matter where you are!

• Read the comics or find online sites with funny cartoons.

• Associate with people who make you laugh.

• Learn some good jokes or anecdotes and share them with friends.

• Tune in to comedy stations like Blue Collar Radio or Laugh USA on your satellite radio.

• Play with children. Make funny faces for them and laugh when they imitate you.

• Play with a pet. If you don't have one, try to borrow one from a friend or family member.

• Play practical jokes. Stick with pranks that are safe, and videotape them on your smart phone to play back for future amusement. Here are a few ideas.

- Glue coins to a sidewalk and watch as people try to pick them up.

- Put sand in someone's shoes.

- Fill a cupboard with ping pong balls and watch it being opened.

- Cover doorknobs with Vaseline.

• Pick up some comedy albums that you can listen to on your iPod or MP3 player while you exercise.

• Laugh, even when nothing funny is happening. You will reap some of the same benefits as you do from a genuinely humorous situation.

• Make jokes about your IBS. It will help to change your perspective and improve your mood.

• Most importantly, whatever you do, count your blessings and pray. There are always others in the world who have a worse lot in life than you do.

Be sure to check out Kathy's books:

The IBS Compass: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tips, Information, Fiber Charts, and Recipes. This book will help you navigate towards better health.

IBS-IBD Fiber Charts: Soluble & Insoluble Fibre Data for over 450 Items, Including Links to Internet Resources - helping you to track your fiber intake, no matter where you are.

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