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Laughter is the Best Medicine

Posted August 15, 2012 in Advice Column

Laughter, by definition, is a vocal expulsion of air from the lungs that can range from a loud burst of sound to a series of quiet chuckles and is usually accompanied by characteristic facial and bodily movements.

Laughter is a human reaction to occasions of humor. While smiling is a mild, silent form of laughter, it is also categorized as giggles, chuckles, hoots, cackles, snickers, chortles and guffaws.

Women tend to laugh in a more “sing-song” way, while men tend to laugh more like a grunt or snort. Babies start to laugh at just 4 months old. Most children laugh about 400 times a day, while adults only laugh about 15 times a day. Somehow, as we age, we lose a few hundred laughs a day. By learning to laugh and smile more often, we gain many positive health benefits. Laughter is still the best medicine.

Benefits of laughter
• Widens blood vessels
• Reduces stress
• Raises antibodies in the blood
• Releases pain-relieving endorphins
• Provides physical and emotional release
• Helps protect against heart disease
• Lowers blood sugar levels
• Helps people heal more quickly
• Releases beneficial neurotransmitters
Laughter is contagious and makes others around you more positive
With all these benefits, you may be wondering how you can get more laughs in your life…
• Watch a funny movie.
• Listen to a comedian.
• Laugh at your mistakes.
• Surround yourself with those who make you feel good.
• Clip cartoons or funny photos and make a laugh book to look at when you feel blue.
• Learn to play — games and activities can be a great source of laughter.
• Reminisce about funny times.
• Read a joke book.
• Act silly.
• Visit the zoo and watch the monkeys play
• Fake it until you make it; a fake laugh will make the body respond as though the laugh is real and cause the same health benefits.

Information provided by Kelsey Klaver, marketing director of Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation, 2401 Des Moines St., Webster City. For more information, call (515) 832-2727.

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