Laughter is the Best Medicine

Are you feeling draggy these days? Have the doldrums got you down? I have good news for you. March 19 is National Let’s Laugh Day. Mayo Clinic points out that laughter enhances our intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates our heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by our brains. So, let’s celebrate this week by throwing back our heads and laughing like children. 

I was with my daughter when her son, Glen, laughed for the first time. Glen was five months old, and I’d gone with my daughter into a restroom to help her change his diaper. She’d set him on his back on the changing table. My daughter sang, “Chicka chicka boom boom” and swooped in to tickle his bare belly. He smiled, wiggled, looked at her, and then—laughed. It was such a contagious, joyous laugh that both she and I joined in. Then, maybe because he loved the sounds we were making together, he laughed even harder. His entire being expressed joy and happiness. Loud and lively, booming and bubbly, our laughter created a lasting memory.

According to “National Today,”, babies laugh 300 times a day. We laugh the most between 5 and 6 years old. Let’s set out to increase our daily laughter fixes. Here are a few suggestions.

Arrange to spend time with those friends who get you giggling and cackling. You know who they are.

Visit Facebook groups such as “funny animals” or “laughter is the best medicine,” or “funny jokes and animals.” They will brighten your day. 

Enjoy funny magazines and books such as “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Too Funny!”  or “Laughter, the Best Medicine” in Reader’s Digest Magazine. Share your favorites with loved ones. 

Spend time with pets or goof around with children. Both are sure to tickle your funny bone.

Plan harmless pranks. (April Fool’s Day is just around the corner.) My brother-in-law tells the story of getting tired of a friend bragging about his car’s gas mileage, so he and fellow fraternity brothers planned a prank. They secretly added gas to the tank. The shocked friend went on and on about the mileage. The fraternity then siphoned out gas. The poor, confused friend couldn’t understand what was happening until one of the men’s laughter gave them away.

A friend recommended the comedy series Doc Martin, and I requested the DVDs from my friendly neighborhood library. It stars an antisocial doctor who gets sick at the sight of blood, which sets up some humorous conflicts and dialogue. Love interests and colorful, local characters such as an inept plumber named Bert create some great lines. As an extra treat, the scenic backdrops are the breathtaking Cornwall harbor and a quaint village.

Attend a comedy club, stream comedians like Trevor Noah, or watch a comedy. My personal favorites are older sitcoms such as Big Bang Theory, Frazier, I Love Lucy or The Carol Burnett Show. Do you remember Carol playing the secretary Mrs. Wiggins? How about Lucy’s skit where she and Ethel are wrapping chocolates on an assembly line? They’ll get fired if they miss any and when the factory increases the belt’s speed, they’re overcome. Unable to wrap them, they stuff the chocolates in their mouths, in their hats, and down their blouses. I smile any time I think about it. See it here:

Let’s celebrate National Let’s Laugh Day by throwing our heads back and giggling our worries away. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

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