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Everybody knows it feels good to laugh! But, did you know the benefits go beyond your mood?

Oxford researchers found a good belly laugh causes the body to release endorphins, which produce a calm feeling and an overall sense of wellbeing.

And, a hearty laugh can be a workout of sorts. “We change physiologically when we laugh,” says R. Morgan Griffin, who writes for WebMD. “We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.”

Laughter may offer some of the same benefits as physical exercise. Researcher William Fry claimed it took him 10 minutes on a rowing machine to get his heart rate up to the same level it reached after just one minute of hearty laughter. And a Vanderbuilt researcher found 10 to 15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories!

The Mayo Clinic reports laughter’s benefits may go beyond the short-term.  Research seems to suggest that laughter may:

  • Improve immune system function
  • Relieve pain by causing the body to release its own natural painkillers and breaking the pain-spasm cycle
  • Help you make friends and build social networks
Sounder sleep, lower blood sugar and healthier relationships have also been linked to laughter.

Improve your laughter quotient

Laughter may be great medicine, but that prescription can be harder to fill if you are middle-aged or older.  Scientists at the University of Glamorgan, UK, discovered that people over 50 seem to laugh less. It may be because they have more reasons to worry or complain than those who are younger.

If you’re among the chuckle-challenged and getting less laughter when you need it most, don’t lose heart! Here are a few ideas to help you improve your laughter quotient:

  • Get tickled! Tickling can be one of the best ways to stimulate laughter, says neuroscientist Robert R. Provine, Ph.D., author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. Tickling is inherently social. It’s a show of affection, and it’s at the root of all play, he says.
  • Nix the news. Add more laughs to your day by switching from 24-hour news radio to comedy radio during your commute. You will arrive at the office relaxed and better able to laugh at life’s little irritations.
  • Watch funny shows and movies. Comedies take somewhat universal situations that many find frustrating and push them a little further. They help you see annoying situations are actually funny.
  • Seek out humor on the web. Youtube, funnycatpix.com and a host of others offer quick pick-me-ups!
  • Spend time with people who laugh. It’s hard to stay sad or depressed around happy, joyful people.

While it may be true that laughter can’t cure all that ails us, one thing is certain — it can’t hurt! We would all do well to find our funny bone any way we can, and live, love, LAUGH!

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” — Woody Allen

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Comments

Camerone
# Camerone
Monday, April 15, 2013 3:48 AM
I think this is a really interesting post. It is easy to get so engrossed in the technology that we forget about real life.

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