Laugh A Little More

A wise person once said that ‘“laughter is the best medicine” (a play off of Proverbs 17:22– a joyful heart is good medicine!). Although I disagree and would argue that proper diet and physical activities habits are the best medicines, laughter is certainly high in the rankings!  Laughter helps to relieve us of any worries that we may be facing even in these brief moments of jubilation.   It helps us feel better and may in fact help pave the way to great health. 

Although data is limited, research suggests that laughter is associated with better health.  From the scientific perspective, it’s unclear whether it’s actually the action of laughing that helps people feel better or if laughter is related to having a more positive outlook on life and supportive relationships (random side note: there are laughing specialists.  Who knew!?!).  More convincing research has been found in laughter’s ability to blunt the perception of physical pain, however.  

Interestingly, when we laugh there is a lot going on physiologically.  In fact, these responses are similar to when we exercise (but don’t go thinking an episode of laughing to Everyone Loves Raymond or the Cosby Show is going to give you a workout!).  When we laugh–which often coincides with smiling–we are stretching the muscles in our face and midsection, our heart rate goes up temporarily, and we breathe faster.  Some studies have found that blood vessels actually expand during bouts of laughter.  This is important because less pressure is exerted on the walls of our blood vessels, and it’s this type of pressure that contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease.  

But whether or not the science is there to validate the importance of laughter or not, the proof is in your experiences.  Having a gut-wrenching laugh always makes you feel better.  And you know you’ve had a good laugh when you feel like you’ve gotten an abdominal workout, your cheeks hurt, or you’ve had the awkward moment of unexpected expulsion (don’t act like you’ve never been in that situation…this blog is about health and our bodies). Just like any other muscle in our bodies, we need to give the muscles in our cheeks a good workout every once in awhile.  

Whether you’re reading this after a long day of work or it’s just the beginning of your grueling day ahead, here is your time to let out a good, belting, laugh-out-loud (lol), get a partial ab workout laugh.  And I mean a real lol instead of a cyber laugh (I’m beginning to think that thinking about laughing is sadly replacing reality; how many of us really laugh OUT LOUD when we type this into our computers or cell phones).  But I digress…

I found a few videos that I hope you find amusing.  Dogs and babies often do the trick of putting a smile on your face (well, I have run across a few baby haters in my day due to the impending trials of motherhood!).  For your good laugh for the day, meet “The Meringue-Dancing Retriever” and “The Evil-Eye-Making Baby!”  I hope they do the trick.

If you didn’t even crack a smile or smirk at these videos, look for one that suits your sense of humor. The bottom line is to laugh more, because we should never be too serious.  Through troubles and life tribulations, there is still a lot to laugh and smile about.  Laughter is good for the spirit, good for the soul, and good for our health; so, laugh a little more (and really out loud!).  

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