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A Million Laughs

April 14 is International Moment of Laughter Day. A day to remind us all to laugh out loud every day. Have you ever heard that laughing is good for you? Listen, it’s no laughing matter! Read on to learn more about the easiest and most fun way to improve your health.

The Mayo Clinic has published research verifying that “when it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered.” Laughing offers both short- and long-term health benefits:



Organ stimulation. When laughing, you take in oxygen-rich air that stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles.

Immune system support. Negative thoughts manifest chemical reactions that introduce stress – but positivity releases neuropeptides that fight stress.

Stress reduction. A good laugh fires and then cools your stress response which, in turn, increases and then decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. All of that results in a relaxed feeling.

Pain relief. Believe it or not, laughter actually produces natural painkillers. Again, that is a one-two punch, improving both your physical AND mental state.

Tension release. Laughter stimulates blood circulation and aids in muscle relaxation. So, it’s both a physical and a mental release.

Personal satisfaction and happiness. Laughter can help you deal with difficult situations AND can ease depression and unhappiness.

The Veteran’s Administration agrees. They list the following positive physiological changes associated with laughing:

·       Hearts function differently while laughing. The act increases stroke volume and cardiac output AND dilates blood vessels.

·       Muscle tone can actually be affected by intense laughter – especially in the abdominals (have you ever said “I laughed so hard, my stomach hurt”?) and 10-15 minutes of laughter a day can burn up to 40 extra calories.

·       Laughter lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and activates the mesolimbic dopamine reward system in the brain.

·       And finally, it raises levels of beta-endorphin – the “feel good” brain chemicals.

Still not a believer? Consider this: there is an international association of laughter yoga! In this practice, the laughter is forced at first – a physical act only, but that tends to build REAL laughter as a result. And those who practice regularly find it both physically and emotionally rewarding.

If you need help learning to laugh (and laughter yoga isn’t your thing), check out these online resources:

·       Learning to laugh




Enjoy a laugh on the 14th and every day – and let me know what makes YOU laugh!

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