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Laughter is the best medicine for many problems

With all that is going on around us these days, it seems like it is easy to get grumpy and unhappy. We can find fault with everything and everyone near us. Or maybe they are finding fault with us.

Perhaps we just plain don’t feel good so those around us get the blame for our being grumpy and unhappy. Then we see all the violence going on around us and that doesn’t help.

There is a cure for all these problems. It is inexpensive and readily available if we will use. All we have to do is look for opportunities and then use them. That cure is laughter, finding ways to laugh.

Recently, the University of Missouri Extension published some research on the benefits of laughter. Their final recommendation is that we should laugh at least 15 times per day.

Now that may not seem like a lot unless we are so serious minded that we just plain don’t see any reason laugh no matter how funny the situation might be.

During these times that we may be confined to our homes and not able to get out and see anyone, it is easy to fall into the trap of being unhappy with the world. We don’t see anything funny or find any reason to laugh. Everything might be serious to us and we would rather frown than smile.

Smiling is usually the beginning of finding something funny or pleasant to enjoy or laugh at. It is a serious world right now but if we look, we will find things to enjoy and to laugh at. Instead of finding everything so serious that we can’t laugh, we should to try to look at the bright side of things.

There is some research that suggests that we tend to remember negative experiences and then dwell on them. That in turn can make us a negative person.

The University of Missouri research says there is a way to avoid that by learning how to laugh. They say that if you don’t take time out for pleasure and always look at things in a serious or negative way, you may have more health problems in the future.

They also mention at least four ways that laughter can benefit us. They say that laughter is a way to brighten up your mood. It helps you find ways to reduce conflicts and increase you social contacts with others. Good laughter is a kind of social “lubricant” to break the ice and ease tensions. In turn, this makes you feel better and more confident even if the situation is a serious one.

Some doctors say laughter can help your muscles to relax. This can reduce stress and headaches. It can also help reduce feelings of being afraid, anger and anxiety. They also say it is an emotional weight loss technique making you feel lighter and in better health.

Laughing can be like internal jogging. When you laugh your muscles are activated, oxygen floods the blood and helps the entire blood and heart system. It can reduce feelings of pain and go to most internal organs, giving them a healthy massage.

Good laughter can help bring a group of people together. It can build a bond among them and help bring them together and reduce conflict.

With more days ahead of us that keep us inside with few if any contacts with others, we may be a little short on our ability to find situations to laugh at. Laughing 15 times a day might seem impossible. But if we start our day by looking at the positive side of things, we just might find more reasons to laugh.

Look for ways to do something special most every day. Take some time out for fun and pleasure. If you set a goal of finding some humor and laughing 15 times per day, it could become a habit. Keep in mind that it is an inexpensive and ready cure for many of our problems and an excellent habit to get into.

Parker is professor emeritus at The Ohio State University and an independent writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Contact him at jbparker149@gmail.com.

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