Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Laughing Baby YouTube Phenom Reduces Stress

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich., Dec. 27, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Laughter is an excellent stress reducer, says Skip MacCarty, D.Min, grandfather of Baby Micah whose YouTube clip of him laughing hysterically as his dad rips up a job rejection letter has amassed over 33 million hits since it went online in February. On Thursday, December 29, Micah and parents will be on NBC's Today Show again for the third time since March.

Micah's "Grandpa Skip," a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress and retired minister, has been teaching stress management for over 20 years. He says that laughter is one of the best medicines for stress relief. Researchers call it "internal jogging" because it gives the internal organs a good workout. It also lowers stress hormones and combats disease. So it's no surprise to MacCarty that many people who viewed the 2-minute "Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper" YouTube clip have commented that it calmed them and lowered their stress and anxiety.

MacCarty and his daughter, Pamela Coburn-Litvak (who holds a Ph.D. on the effects of stress on the brain) have co-authored the faith-based Stress: Beyond Coping seminar and e-learning course accessible at They are offering a 24-hour FREE access to one of the four modules of the e-learning course coinciding with the December 29 appearance of Baby Micah on the Today Show. 

"Baby Micah has brought our whole family hours of joy with his contagious laughter," says MacCarty. "What you see on the YouTube clip(s) (there are now several new ones added) is just what this little guy is really like. He's a contagious laughing machine who enjoys life to the fullest, with a few whimpers sprinkled in to remind us that he's human."

Research on humor as a therapeutic modality was sparked by Dr. Norman Cousins' book, Anatomy of an Illness, in which he described his diagnosis of a rare disease for which doctors said there was no cure. He attributed his surprising recovery largely to his self-treatment with lots of humor, including watching comedies and reading joke books. Later he joined the UCLA medical school as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities where he helped establish the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology for the study of the brain's contribution to the healing process.

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