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The Importance of Laughter

By mikke038 May 20, 2007 732 Words
Good morning judges, fellow students, and staff. The late Erma Bombeck once wrote, "If I could live my life over, I would have laughed more." Bombeck was one of America's funniest columnists and author of many theses on humor of life. She KNEW the importance of laughing. For one, people who laugh is pleasant to be around; try pulling a long face all day, and pretty soon you will notice others avoiding you. The power of laughter can never be underestimated. It is a part of life.

Laughter is a universal language. It is extremely beneficial to the human body, and it has no known side effects. As Psychiatrist Robert Holden states, laughing produces happy chemicals in the body called endorphins, which work in the brain to give us an overall feeling of contentment. When you laugh, all thought process stops and no other thoughts enter our mind. This is a way of relieving stress, thus lowering blood pressure, & according to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland, this can in turn indirectly reduce one's risks of a heart attack and other health related problems.

How laughing can contribute to physical fitness is known to so few, it is almost a secret. Scientists estimate that laughing 100 times is equivalent to a 10-minute workout on a rowing machine, or 15 minutes on a stationary exercise bike. The mere act of laughing exercises the diaphragm, as well as the abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles. & If we laugh, and I don't mean a fake little "giggle" when you hear an old knock-knock joke, unless you happen to find it hilarious, but a real, strong laughter, for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, we can increase our energy consumption by 10 to 40 calories per day!& It HAS happened, ladies and gentlemen, a hybrid brand of psychology called "laughter therapy" is laughter-cising its way into hospital and nursing home lives with mood lifter activities!While there is still some mystery about exactly how laughter helps, there is no longer any question that it does promote good health. So for those who wish to lose weight, now you can just laugh it off!Laughter creates a more youthful appearance. Apparently, it takes more muscles in your face to frown than to laugh, both of which generate wrinkles, but a frown generates more. Some of you are probably thinking, the words 'wrinkle' and 'young' does not go together. True. But "laugh lines" or wrinkles caused by laughter can give a person an amiable look, as opposed to wrinkles and creases cause by stress and unhappiness, which can give them a more callous characteristic.

As important as laughter may be, there is a time and place for everything, including laughing. One does not laugh when someone dies, one does not laugh at others' beliefs and one certainly does not laugh at those who are suffering. Laughter can be hurtful when it is used to single a person or race out. It can be dangerous when it leads to violence and stereotyping. "Dumb blonde jokes" is an example. Though blondes can see it through a different light and use that to their advantage! So laugh for the right reasons and in the right situation. No matter how funny a sensitive issue may seem, it is best to control your laughter and have a private chuckle later, if you must.

Laughter provides a harmless outlet for negative emotions, and provides a coping mechanism for strenuous situations. As Erma Bombeck once said, "If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it, and if you can laugh at it, you can live with it. Bad things are bound to happen, if not, then how else can the good things in life be eminent? I mean, take my cousin, for example. When he is being mischievous and he knows he's in big trouble, he will resort to whatever means possible to make the family laugh, so he can escape with little or no punishment.

We are always reminded that tragedy is not too far away from comedy; this is why we never get a lop-sided view of things. If we can see the funny side, then we will never make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously. Attempt to see the ridiculous side of life. Erma Bombeck was right. Don't wait to wish you could live your life over.

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