It’s Ok! It’s Good For You!

During my first smoke break of the morning a gentleman informed me the average person laughs out loud ten times a day. I can’t recall why he told me this. Nothing special was going on. We did not know one another. There was no one else outside of the building. Just me, compulsively clutching-on to my cell & legal tablet paper, and this man in a nice looking, chocolate-brown sued shirt/jacket I admired. Both of us puffing away.

We did not get into an in-depth dialogue on why or where he thought he once heard (or read) an average person laughs out loud ten times a day.

How many times did I laugh yesterday, I wondered.

Did I laugh yesterday? Yesterday was a Thursday. Are Thursday’s days in which people laugh more often? Or less often?

Such questions should be mauled over with deep consideration. This could be really important. That was/is my position on this now. Because now, being Friday, I have to laugh more. For some reason I can’t explain, it seems crucial that I laugh more – because it is Friday. And I will be irritatingly mindful about this whole thing all day. Consciously aware & counting the number of times a guffaw might slip out, a giggle breaking free…

I got to thinking about it, though. I made a little note on my legal pad, telling myself to pursue the man’s delightful lit bit of information.

To my surprise, making my morning even better, Google enlightened me there is statistical research & facts finding, on average, a person laughs seventeen times a day!

(Children & infants, on the other hand, have us squashed into the mud. Beating us with a whopping THREE HUNDRED laughs a day. And, in my humble opinion, nothing is as delightful as a baby’s laugh.)

Seventeen times a day people are busting up over something silly or ditsy or gleefully embarrassing. We can let it rip when the well-known Comedian is shamelessly on-point describing the things we normally would not verbalize in public, let alone on a Public Platform. Things like why women get mad when the guy eats her yogurt. She needs that yogurt. And we, the “guys” don’t need to know why. And things you probably only speak to your Significant Other about.

Here is a fact for those of you keen on the idea of getting to the gym more often: Laughing is considered exercise. Yes, yes. Tell that little tidbit of Medical Fact to a nagger. On the U.S. Preventive Medicine website (www.uspm.com) it specifies:

“Laughing is much more than an emotional response to something funny, it also evokes a physical response. Laughing exercises several muscles in the body, including your abdomen, back, shoulders, and facial muscles. Also, laughter is a great workout for your respiratory system! Much like physical activity, such as running, which increases the endorphins that are released by your brain, laughter has the same effect on your body.”

Want to make yourself feel or think like you had a good, healthy workout, watch an hour-an-half Comedy. Now don’t be scarfing down the Drake’s Ring Dings & Oatmeal Cream Pies as you are doing it. At least give yourself more of the illusion you are at the gym: have a bottle of water close at hand… wear the vibrant Yoga wear & sport a ridiculous headband. Dressing the part puts you into character better.

And that is what you will be doing: being in character & you will be delivering a performance that will cause the release of beta-endorphins in the hypothalamus, which leads to the release of nitric oxide, which dilates the vessels.

And there’s more.

Nitric oxide is a chemical that also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and preventing the formation of cholesterol plaque.

It may not sound as tough & exciting as “pumping iron” or “working the speed bag”. Not as sexy sounding as Hot Yoga (whatever that is.)

But it is good for you, regardless.

It can be difficult (at least is is for me) to force yourself to laugh. And laughing at yourself is hard for some people. It has been hard for me to do. There has been little to laugh about. Seriousness keeps clouding-over the opportunity.

But I am going to keep this whole Laughter Business in mind while I continue to take inventory on living a Healthier Life.

Here are some tips on how to make time for Humor in your day, courtesy of the U.S. Preventive Medicine Care Team:

  • Catch up on your favorite TV comedy show
  • Practice laughing for 5 minutes
  • Play with children or pets
  • Host game night with friends
  • Find humor in a stressful situation
  • Share a good joke or a funny story
  • Go to a “laughter yoga” class
  • Listen to a comedy show while working out
  • Spend time with people who make you laugh

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

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