It’s healthy to laugh!

Laughter expert Robert Povine calls laughter a “primitive and unconscious vocalization” and believes it is part of the human vocabulary.

Experts believe that we are born with the ability to smile and laugh. Infants begin smiling in the first few weeks of life and laugh by 3 months of age. Laughter expert Robert Povine calls laughter a “primitive and unconscious vocalization” and believes it is part of the human vocabulary.

“Everyone speaks laughter in the same way,” he said. Humor and laughter can benefit you physically, mentally and socially. Those who practice “laughter yoga” report feeling less stressed. A belly laugh can improve oxygen flow to the heart and lower blood pressure. Laughter allows distance from negative thoughts and appears to add zest to life. It also releases hormones that can improve your mood and decrease anxiety.

Socially, laughing with others can make life feel less lonely. Have you ever been around someone laughing uncontrollably and began laughing yourself? It is contagious. Research shows that in work areas where employees laugh and enjoy play time, productivity increases, defensiveness decreases and teamwork improves. For those raised in an environment where laughter was not common, it is possible to learn to laugh and experience humor.

Smile at others and write your blessings in a journal to increase feelings of well-being. Consider getting a pet to combat loneliness, increase companionship and social opportunities, and experience unconditional love.

Include yourself in the laughter of others by surrounding yourself with funny people. Bring humor into a conversation by asking others to talk about the funniest thing they have ever experienced.

Ask yourself if you are open to laughter. Try to be aware of just how serious you are. You may want to lighten up and live longer!

– Jennifer Stanton, BSN, R.N., IBCLC, RLC , family and community educator, Norton Healthcare Office of Church and Health Ministries


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