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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Take Some Time to Laugh This Tax Week
04/11/2011

Click to hear the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

This tax week, I’d like to give you a prescription for reduced stress and better health: a prescription for laughter.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that April 14 — the day before tax day — is International Moment of Laughter Day. Money is the number one source of stress for American adults, and with tax day looming, financial stresses are soaring.*

Studies have found that laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol, and increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins.** Laughter can also provide a much-needed distraction from negative emotions and stressors.

Successful participation in Moment of Laughter Day requires bringing about a good belly laugh — not just a smile — in people you encounter throughout the day. A good laugh actually produces an internal workout, contracting the abs, working the shoulders, and leaving the muscles more relaxed.

Not only will laughter promote healthy attitudes and a cheerful environment, it will have a positive impact on the health of those around you. Humor can provide a more optimistic perspective and help us to see difficult tasks ahead as challenges rather than threats.

So make some time to laugh this week. It’s a prescription you can take as often as you need. You can even share it with others.

For Texas Health Resources and our family of faith-based hospitals — Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Presbyterian and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

*American Psychological Association
**About.com

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