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You’ve heard it said that laughter is the best medicine.  Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doth good like medicine.”  There is really nothing better than a good, hearty, belly laugh … especially considering the abundance of negativity that surrounds us day in and day out.

Laughter can change the atmosphere instantly moreover; the health benefits start to go to work immediately!  Because God has created us so perfectly and equipped us with everything we need for a healthy and happy life, just a minute of laughter can clear one’s mind and begin to relieve stress and anxiety.  Our body begins to produce highly sought-after hormones in the brain like, endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.

Endorphins are our bodies natural painkillers. They are released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress, this group of peptide hormones both relieves pain and creates a general feeling of well-being. (Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, July 20, 2021).

Both dopamine and serotonin are known as the “feel good” hormone.  Dopamine can help with motivation, excitement, and learning while low levels of dopamine have been associated with depression, being tired and moody.

Serotonin regulates our mood as well and helps us feel more focused, more stable, calmer and an overall sense of happiness.

Lastly, oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” or the “empathy hormone.”  When this chemical is released during a good laughter, we relate better to others and our walls come down.

In addition to the release of these hormones in our brains, our heart rate and blood pressure decrease and any tension in our body begins to relax. Our mood overall improves!

The next time you are feeling stressed, confused, upset or just “off” – seek a positive experience that will make you laugh.  Take a minute to laugh! Turn on a comedy show.  Find a joke book. 

This is the season especially, to be merry! Your body will benefit greatly as you stay merry!

Rhonda L. Smart, [email protected]

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