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What feels better than a good belly laugh? 

You know the kind I mean: the tears streaming down your face, whole body experience with maybe a snort thrown in for good measure.  Think about how that affects your mood and outlook.  Laughter is good for the soul and studies show it is good for our health as well.  It can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and can improve your immune system.  Laughter has so many benefits and no negative side effects.  Well, unless you count the potential of spitting out your drink at an unexpected joke or your sides hurting from a prolonged laugh session. 

We instinctively feel like laughter is good for us but why does it work?  Here are a few reasons why laughter truly is the best medicine. 

Endorphins:  Laughing releases endorphins.  What are endorphins?  They are defined as a group of hormone-like substances that are produced in the brain that make you feel good and also help with reducing pain by causing an analgesic effect. 

Social:  Laughter brings us together.  When we laugh together it forms bonds and shared experience that helps to deepen our relationships.  Laughter is contagious, it benefits not only ourselves but those around us.  Ever hear the infectious giggle of a child?  Something about it just brings a sense of joy and happiness. 

Brain:  Laughter improves brain function according to scientific studies. There is evidence of increased connectivity in various parts of the brain in response to laughter by supporting existing neurons and encouraging growth of new neurons and synapses.  Which is a fancy way of saying that it can help the brain make connections faster.

Anti-depressant:  Laughing activates the release of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant, which can help with anxiety and stress.  It also can make it easier to cope with difficult situations since laughing can produce a general sense of well-being which may help lessen nervousness and depression. 

Heart:  Laughter has an anti-inflammatory effect that protects blood vessels and heart muscles by lessening the bodies stress response and this protects your heart.  You’re bringing in oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles and all of this can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. 

I am not a health care professional, but studies show real benefits of laughter.  I believe in finding ways to laugh every day.  What makes you laugh?  Consider incorporating time with friends, watching a funny tv show or movie, reading a humorous book, playing with your pets or kids, or whatever activity brings a smile to your face each day. 

Laughter is medicine I am happy to take daily! 

With love, Debbie

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