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LIFE? THAT’S A LAUGH

Six awesome reasons why laughter really is the best medicine.

‘He who laughs last, laughs longest’, right?

Well… maybe, but it’s not a saying that has ever struck us at The Organic Skin Co. as one we should take to heart, given that its premise is that of revenge and putting one over your enemy.

Personally, we much prefer the saying, ‘He who laughs longest, lives longer.’

What’s that? You’ve never heard that particular phrase before? That’s probably because we’ve just made it up. But we’re hoping it catches on, we really do, because it contains a big helping of truth.

You see, laughter is good for us – mind, body and soul. Here’s six reasons why:

Laughter boosts the immune system
A good laugh not only improves our frame of mind, but, as evidence increasingly shows, has positive benefits for our health as well. We not only get a mighty boost of life-giving oxygen when we laugh, but our stress hormones decrease, and our blood circulates better. Cells essential in the fight against diseases like cancer are also stimulated, as are antibodies that fight bacteria and infections.

Laughter protects the heart
Not only does a hearty laugh provide us with a welcome burst of exercise (studies have shown that 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn upwards of 50 calories), but it will help our blood vessels function better, increasing blood flow and protecting against cardiovascular problems.

Laughter relieves stress and promotes relaxation
When we laugh, our stress response system also gets a positive workout. It is alternately fired up (leading initially to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and circulation) and then cooled down. In the aftermath of a good belly laugh, our muscles relax, levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine decrease, and we’re left feeling good, both in mind and body.

Laughter positively shapes our relationship with others
Who do you prefer to be around? The sourpuss who rails constantly against the world, or the optimist whose sense of humor and ready laugh always puts such a positive spin on the roller coaster we call life? Yeah… that’s what we thought. Laughter bonds us. It puts us at ease, stimulates conversation, and helps us to connect with others.

Laughter enhances resilience and helps us to cope
Whatever is happening in your life, it’s happening. You can let it get on top of you and get lost in the darkness. Or you can shrug your shoulders and go looking for the light. At the very least, laughter can serve as a powerful torch, keeping the darkness at bay. Use it consistently and it will ease your worries, help you cope with difficulties, and assist you in getting on with your life.

Laughter helps us manage pain 
Ever stubbed your toe or cracked your knee and then tried to laugh off the pain? If you have, then you’ve been self-medicating! Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, natural body chemicals which help us to feel good and which can temporarily relieve pain.

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So, as it turns out, laughter really is good medicine. It’s as they say. A laugh a day keeps the doctor away.’

What? They don’t say that either? Well, they should. Because it’s very likely true.

References and Further Resources

Gayle, Patillo and Itano, Laughter is the Best Medicine, http://www.utmb.edu/gem/pdfs/laughter.pdf
Mayo Clinic, Stress relief from laughter? http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00034
Recker, Nancy Laughter Is Really Good Medicine http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/Laughter_Good_Medicine.pdf
Morgan Griffin, R Give Your Body a Boost – With Laughter, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter
Helpguide.org, Laughter Is The Best Medicine, http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm
Gauldin, Deb Applying Critical Thinking to New Humour Research, Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, http://www.aath.org/applying-critical-thinking-to-new-humor-research

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