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Laugh more, it’s good for you
The statistics are sobering. By the time a child goes to kindergarten, it’s been reported that they laugh an average of 300 times a day. That's 300 times every.single.day. As an adult, it’s amazing to see that they find something amusing in everything that often times cause them to break into spontaneous laughter!
Adults, on the other hand, we laugh an average of 17 times a day. According to “Psychology Today”, the average 40-year-old only laughs four times a day. Some people, even less. That’s sad.
Think about it. Children and adults both live in the same world, and we both see and hear the same things, yet our responses are as different as day and night. Faking a sneeze? Children laugh. Find a word they like and say it in a funny voice? Children laugh. Change the words to songs they know? Children laugh. (Actually, I laugh at this one too, even to myself because I can never remember the correct lyrics to songs.) Playing hide and seek? Toddlers squeal with laughter.
So why don’t adults laugh as much? Maybe it’s because adulthood brings a sense of seriousness and worry. After all, I worry about everything. The kids, my wife, my relatives.
Ask adults what makes them laugh, and most will tell you it's jokes and humor. But they would be wrong. So what makes us laugh the most? Robert Provine, a psychologist at the University of Maryland found that we actually laugh most when talking to our friends. In fact we're 30 times more likely to, laugh at something when we are with other people. (Ahem, that mean’s we laugh less when our eyes are glued to an electronic device.)
We can also react to something serious by laughing. For those of you readers who are over the age of 50 years old, I’m sure you appreciated the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” episode, called, ”Chuckles Bites the Dust” about a clown who died. Everyone in the Mary Tyler Moore newsroom makes jokes after they learn of Chuckles’ demise, but Mary finds the laughter appalling, until the somber funeral during which she begins to laugh uncontrollably.
It was a great episode (one of my favorites) that made me laugh out loud. We need more of that - laughter, because it’s good for you.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke. Some of the positive things laughter does are enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. It can also activate and relieve your stress response, soothe tension and leave you feeling relaxed.