Day Thirteen: Laughter is the Best Medicine

In any real, deep friendship, there are times for zany, goofy laughter.  Think about times when you’ve laughed so hard that you’ve cried.  Who were you with?  When I get to the point where I can laugh with someone with reckless abandon then I know we are officially good friends.

I wrote for (in)courage once about the benefits of crying.  It turns out that laughter provides significant health benefits as well.  According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, laughter provides us with the following short and long term health benefits:

  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.

  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.

  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.

  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.

  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier.

    (To read the full article, click here.)

    How cool is that?  So, let’s all take care of ourselves by spending time with the friends we can laugh like crazy with. This gal has been the reason for some of my best “rollicking” laughs on record.

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