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C'mon... Let's Laugh

C'mon... Let's Laugh

March 19, 2024

One Key to Better Health is Downright Laughable

There's nothing I love more than a good belly laugh. And I probably shouldn't say this out loud, but I'm a sucker for the bad dad jokes. One of my sons wore me down with them over the years (he started young) such that I now can't help but laugh. 

As it turns out, laughter is good for us. National Let’s Laugh Day is celebrated annually on March 19th. While it may sound a bit comical to have a day devoted to laughter, there may be more truth to the old adage, “laughter is the best medicine,” than originally thought. According to the American Medical Association, laughter has been found to offer a broad array of health benefits, including:1

  • Increasing the level of oxygen in the blood and the release of cortisol, endorphins, and the immune system’s T-cells
  • Boosting levels of dopamine and other stress-busting chemicals and hormones that can naturally help to lower anxiety and depression
  • Providing a workout for the diaphragm and improving “cough efficacy,” which is important for people with asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic lung issues
  • Supporting social relationships, which can be particularly beneficial to those dealing with loneliness or isolation

In addition, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that “genuine voiced laughter” causes a 10% to 20% rise in heart rate and calorie-burning energy expenditure above resting values.2

Good things happen when we laugh

While the physical and psychological benefits of laughter have been widely studied, what makes people laugh is still a bit of a mystery. Laughter is thought to begin in the brain’s frontal lobe, which researchers believe is the gatekeeper for our sense of humor. It determines whether you find something humorous or not, then passes that information along to other areas of the brain to further process. But it doesn’t stop there. When the brain signals that it’s time to laugh, the whole body gets involved. Oxygen intake increases, endorphins rise, and dopamine and other stress-busting chemicals and hormones are released that can naturally help to lower anxiety and depression. The way our bodies processes humor also increases circulation and aids in muscle relaxation.3

The best part is that you don’t have to wait until March 19th to reap the benefits of laughter. Get your regular fix by spending time with family and friends; watching humorous videos, comedy shows or movies; or visiting a local comedy club. You can also listen to humorous audiobooks or podcasts while walking, driving, or tackling chores.

However you choose to get your daily dose of humor, remember, laughter is highly contagious. See if you can't spread some around today!

1Robeznieks, Andis, “Why older adults benefit from regular doses of humor.” Ama-assn.org, 23 MAR 2023, https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/population-care/why-older-adults-benefit-regular-doses-humor.
2Ibid.
3Christing, Adam, “What Part of the Barin Processes Humor?” Cleancomedians.com, 6 SEP 2021, https://cleancomedians.com/what-part-of-the-brain-processes-humor/.

This information was partially researched and written by KRW Creative Concepts, a non-affiliate of the broker-dealer.

This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought. For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera firms nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.