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18

The Many Benefits of Laughing

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When was the last time you had a really good laugh? You may want to head to a comedy club or watch reruns of Saturday Night Live when you think about the many benefits from laughing, including relieving stress to helping personal relationships.

Dr. Robert R. Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland and author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, observed thousands of incidents of laughter occurring in everyday life. He concluded that while we don’t know for sure that laughter helps people feel better, it certainly isn’t hurting.  “Laughter is not primarily about humor,” says Dr. Provine, “but about social relationships.” 

Researches aren’t sure if it’s the actual act of laughing that makes people feel better.  A good sense of humor, a positive attitude and the support of friends and family might play a role, too. Laughter is contagious like yawning and the laughter of others is irresistible.  It’s been found that laugher has a measurable impact on stress as well. While stress can raise levels of the hormone cortisol, known to affect memory and learning ability, laughter reduces it.

Laughter may be energizing too.  Some researchers think laughter may actually help people feel better and put a spring in their step.  Feeling rundown?  For a reenergizing boost heading to a comedy club or watching a funny movie on may do the trick.  I know watching some of the new Netflix dramas certainly aren’t energizing and after a binge over a weekend, I’m exhausted!    

Experts suggest taking a cue from children who laugh on average on 400 times per day. Adults typically laugh only 15 times daily. Here are a few tips to add a bit of humor to your day:

  1. Spend time with children, grandchildren or great-grands
  2. Invite friends over for a game night
  3. Watch your favorite TV sitcom
  4. Find the humor in day-to-day activities
  5. Watch silly pet YouTube videos

How do you bring laughter into your day? 

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