Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis
Like most people, I think there’s nothing better than a real good laugh. Not a polite chuckle, mind you, but the kind of laugh that leaves you gasping for air and clutching your midsection. This is when all inhibitions are released and when there’s no worry about what’s right or acceptable.
Because of this, I was intrigued by an article by Carrie Ciula that appeared in the Epoch Weekend newspaper in early April 2016 that explored the ins and outs of having a good, body-shaking laugh.
Members of the band The Beach Girl5 laugh at a café in London in 2010.
Photo: courtesy of Epoch Weekend by Epoch Times, April 1-7, 2016
Ciula notes that, “Laughter is an innate, unlearned response. Infants begin to smile within the first few weeks of life. It is awe-inspiring that we are all born with this intrinsic affinity toward smiling and laughing out of pure delight at whatever we find funny”.
She goes on to offer seven good reasons of many why we should indulge in a good belly laugh (or many) every day.
Laughter Relaxes the Whole Body
A good, body-rocking laugh evaporates stress and relieves physical tension. In fact, it can relax muscles for as long as an hour.
Laughter Releases Endorphins
A fancy definition of endorphins is: Any of a group of endogenous peptides found especially in the brain that binds chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some pharmacological effects. Or, more succinctly: any feel-good or feel-happy chemicals, e.g., the more we laugh, the better we feel.
Laughter Boosts the Immune System
It has been found that laughing boosts one’s immune system through decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells’ infection-fighting abilities.
Laughter Protects Your Heart
When you laugh heartily your blood flow increases that, in turn, decreases high blood pressure and protects you from a heart attack.
Laughter Dissolves Negative Emotions
Enjoy a good laugh the next time you’re having an argument with someone. It’s very difficult to feel angry while you’re laughing.
Laughter Helps All of Us Connect
Laughter enables us to bond with people we’re already close to and forges ties with people we’ve just met. Feeling connected is one of the most important ingredients of good health. Or, according to Victor Borge, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
Laughter Holds Us in the Moment
When we laugh we focus on whatever is funny in the moment. We’re not replaying the past or focusing on the future. We are simply enjoying the here and now. So just laugh heartily and often. Cheers to a hearty unrestrained medicine – no doctor required.
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