We have all heard the old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary
defines laughter as “to show emotion with a chuckle or explosive vocal sound.” There are 16
synonyms listed for laughter, including chuckle, giggle, snicker, and guffaw. Even just hearing these
words evokes a smile. And it probably comes as no surprise that laughing is good for our mental health.
But what is it about laughter that is also good for our physical health?

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter provides many short-term and long-term health benefits. When
we laugh, it stimulates many of our organs and also increases and then decreases our heart rate and
blood pressure, helping us to feel more relaxed. It can relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress
as well by improving circulation and promoting muscle relaxation.

In addition to these short-term responses, laughter has many long-term benefits too, such as improving the immune system, reducing pain, and helping us to connect with other people. Studies have shown that we are 30 times more likely to laugh when we are with others than when we are alone. And laughing just makes us feel better overall. Think about the last time you had a good belly laugh. Where were you? Who were you with at the time?

Whether it’s spending time with friends and family, watching a funny movie, reading a book that makes
you smile, or anything else that brings you joy, try to laugh more this summer. Do your best to surround
yourself with people that make you grin and guffaw. And try to make others smile and laugh whenever
you can.

So on that note…

What do you call a carrot with four equal sides?

A square root!

Hollie Legee-Cressman is a Community Nutrition Educator for Healthy Oxford Hills, your local Healthy Communities Coalition and a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital. You can connect with her at 739- 6222 or at [email protected] Like us on Facebook at HealthyOxfordHills

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