Laughter

My Grandfather was buried on one of the coldest days of the year. Mom heard my Dad’s teeth chattering and started to softly giggle. Dad saw her shaking with silent giggles and started to quietly laugh, which made my Mom laugh harder until they were both laughing out loud. At first there were angry stares, and then people, including the priest, started to smile, and finally others laughed. The harder Mom and Dad tried to control it, the more they laughed, and then the tears. Laughter let them break through the sadness and tension of the moment. Laughter made an awful day into one that everyone remembers with a smile.

Laughter is the body’s feel-good trigger; it releases endorphins that promote an overall sense of happiness and improves blood flow that can help protect our heart. It relieves physical tension and stress, leaving muscles relaxed for up to 30 minutes.

Some scientists think mirror neurons in our brain cause us to smile when someone smiles at us, and make laughter contagious. When you’re feeling down, laughing with friends makes you both feel better.

Laughter increases our ability to see failure as a natural progression to success rather than a negative outcome. It lets us acknowledge our mistakes without becoming depressed.

Laughter even relieves pain. It doesn’t change the pain level, but somehow lets us cope with it better.

Young children laugh an average of 400 times a day; adults average 15. If we’ve lost our ability to laugh, we can develop it again. We should practice

  • Laughing at ourselves. Sharing embarrassing moments makes them seem less serious.
  • Looking for the humor in a bad situation. It will improve everyone’s mood.
  • Surrounding ourselves with fun stuff — screensaver that makes us laugh, pictures of us having fun, or favorite toys.
  • Watching comedies, sharing a funny story with a friend, looking at funny YouTube videos.
  • Spending more time with people who have good fun.
  • Understanding what isn’t funny. Never laughing at the expense of others. It hurts us both.

Laughter even burns calories, about 10-40 in 15 minutes. I can’t think of a better reason to laugh.

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