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Laughter is the Best Medicine

January 11, 2018

Get Well Sooner with a Daily Dose of Laughter!

By: Don McCarren, D.O., F.A.A.N.

Joke: Yo mama's so old that the key on Ben Franklin's kite was the key to her apartment!

Everyone knows that a good laugh always makes you feel better... but why? When you're weary, feeling small (a little Simon & Garfunkel) seek-out a good belly laugh! The fact that we tend to laugh less often as we age signifies that additional chortles will do the soul some good!

Some of the Facts Associated with Laughter

- Laughter stimulates the release of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) and endorphins

     Serotonin: a neurotransmitter found throughout the brain, its main functions appear to involve control of:

  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Memory and learning
  • Temperature and endocrine regulation
  • Mood and behavior (including depression)
  • Cardiovascular function and muscle contraction

     Endorphins: a group of endogenous peptides found especially in the brain that chiefly bind to opiate (i.e.      morphine) receptors and produce some of its pharmacologic properties like pain relief which helps with depression  and enhance the feeling of well-being.

- Laughing reduces the release of stress related cortisol and produces and anti-inflammatory effect known to be heart healthy.

    Cortisol: a glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal gland and is responsible for (among others):

  • Gluconeogenesis: production of glucose from glycogen
  • Anti-inflammatory effect
  • Immunosuppressive properties

- Laughter is contagious and makes you want to spend more time with those people who have a joyful laugh. Your cheekbones should hurt after this adorable baby laugh:

- Laughter produces long term benefits: better immune function, improved pain tolerance, enhanced personal satisfaction, and improved mood.

Joke: This is a true student response of one of my anonymous friends:

Teacher: How can your family help in conversation efforts?

Student: My mom and dad said they take showers together to save water!

How to put humor in your day

Watch funny TV, movies and YouTubes

Listen to comic radio stations

Read humorous books and articles

Follow funny people on social media

Learn and share jokes

Hang-out with friends who make you laugh

Joke: My children made a recording of this joke for me about 20 years ago. It still makes me laugh!

Q: How do you make a tissue dance?

A: Put a little boogie in it!

During times of illness, stress, anxiety, depression, grief or generalized discontent, it is medically beneficial to laugh. Whether you are struggling or on top of the world, smiling and laughter should be a part of everyone's day!

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