Having Asthma is Something to Smile About, by Murray Grossan, M.D.
Millions of persons have asthma, and half of asthmatics also have sinus and rhinosinusitis. To put it bluntly there is nothing funny about having asthma. Yet, the science of psychoneuroimmunology has shown that smiling can reduce your symptoms.
This is the theme of my book, Stressed? Anxiety? Your Cure is in the Mirror. With smiling and humor, you can reduce your symptoms.
Studies of smiling have demonstrated that smiling during the common cold season reduces the incidence of colds significantly. The smile does two things:
Smiling sends a message to your limbic (stress) system that this is no danger, no tiger. Then you avoid the negative chemicals that the stress system sends out which actively reduce your immunity.
A second effect of smiling is that it signals the pleasure brain to put out the good chemicals that raise your immune factors. The positioning of the facial muscles does this, and we see negative effects when the face is paralyzed from trauma.
Years ago, a famous author, Norman Cousins lay dying at a top hospital in Los Angeles. His friends brought in movie projectors and had him watch comedies. He got well and wrote a book, Anatomy of an Illness. Because of his experience the entire field of emotions and illness has been studied. In one study, it was shown that irrespective of the operating surgeon, a psychological test could predict the outcome of a standard orthopedic procedure!
No question that keeping a happy smiling face while having an asthmatic attack will make a lot of people wonder about your mental state. But maybe with humor you won’t get that attack. How can you feel happy when you are struggling to breathe properly?
The key is to cultivate a happy affect. Of course you won’t feel funny and happy all the time. But if you laugh and feel joy 90% of the time, you will build up the good chemicals to keep you healthy. If Mr. F.A. could do it, so can anyone. He was disabled with a back injury. Every time he saw his therapists he had funny stories to tell them. I am sure he got better faster.
You can develop a humor habit. Here are some exercises from Stressed? Anxiety? Your Cure is in the Mirror:
Practice memorizing short shopping lists using humor.
Rent comedies and write down funny scenes to describe to others.
Find comedy web sites and blogs and record the best ones to tell your friends.
Your public library has humor DVD, books and tapes you can borrow.
Once a week pretend you are a TV writer and write a funny TV show.
You see a funny episode on TV. You carry it in your mind to tell your friend next evening. Instead of stress thoughts or anxiety thoughts, your thoughts dwell on laughter.
Yes, you still need to do your asthma exercises, take your preventative medications, and clear your nose/sinuses with pulse wave saline irrigation, but reducing your asthma symptoms is a good way to better health.
Questions and Answers: P.T. asks: I recently stopped using the Hydro Pulse™ irrigator after a very bad sinus problem, and now my nose stays clear anyway. Should I go back to using it?
Answer: Once your nose is working fine, it means your nasal cilia are now doing their job, you are back to normal, and you no longer need to use the Hydro Pulse™.