I was reading an article on laughter by Dr. Robert Provine, and he went deep into what actually happens in the brain when we laugh. He covered at what age it occurs; the various causes of laughter (positive ones that are done in groups verses the negative – making fun of someone). These examples define the science behind laughter, but I want to point out the benefits that I believe it leaves behind.
I always make a point of paying attention to people’s facial expression when I’m outside; particularly, women – the ones that are at the mature stage (40 and over). I am singling out this group because we are the ones that are most likely to have a frown. Unlike men, we carry the world on our shoulders. We’ve got to keep everything up and running (the home; the kids; the job; ourselves – the list is long). With all of this going on, it will take an extra effort to see humor in the struggle.
There is an old adage ‘it takes more facial muscles to frown than smile’. I believe this to be a true statement because I laugh a lot, and when I feel sad about something, I could actually sense a frown on my face. I am conscious of the facial expression because, subconsciously, I am always wearing a smile. Laughing has become a habit for me – to the point where my first reaction to any kind of news is to laugh. I’m not always proud of that fact because I laugh even when it’s bad news. It’s almost as if it’s a nervous reaction. Putting this tiny flaw aside, this demeanor has kept me in really high spirits over the years.
Laughter, like exercise, is known to reduce stress from our bodies and even assist with depression & anxiety. When we laugh, endorphin (the body’s natural happy feelings chemical) is released. This, then, helps you to feel good all over – promoting a sense of wellness. So take a moment to laugh and see the humor in life — stop taking things so seriously. In the long run, your body will thank you for it, and you will ultimately be a happier person.