Without doubt, the mind has an enormous influence over our health. Doctors’ casebooks are full of examples of patients whose illness appears to stem from general depression. A healthy person receives bad news, is understandably upset, and before long complains of being ‘run down’. One British study shows that chronic illness among the unemployed is six times high as among those at work.
The body responds to mental stress by producing more cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are designed, among other functions, to increase the heart rate and blood pressure, improving our performance so that we can cope more efficiently. Too much stress overstimulates hormone production so that, instead of improving our efficiency, we become less able to cope. That is why some people faced with a life-threatening crisis find themselves unable to act sensibly.
Laughter triggers nerves in the brain to start a chain or reactions. The body’s endocrine system secrets natural painkillers and tranquillizers. Other substances aid digestion, and the arteries relax to improve the blood flow. No doctor would claim that laughter will cure all ailments, but there is no doubt that a good luck does us all a power of good. There is always body wonders.