This month, on March 19, National Let’s Laugh Day will be observed.
In honor of this day, I am making a funny photo my niece, Rocsi, and I took together my cellphone screensaver for the month. We took the photo last year at an event for autistic children and their families in Oakland County because of my nephew, her brother Rocco. My niece and I like playing dress up together, and were able to dress up in costume hats provided at the event. Rocsi held a pair of puckered lips, and we stuck out our tongues and disfigured our faces. Every time I look at the photo I laugh inside, revisiting the humor I had when I was about 6 years old, as Rocsi is now.
Laughter has been linked to health benefits ranging from improved blood flow, to lowering levels of inflammation. It has been proven to reduce blood pressure, especially in women, and improve blood flow, which, in turn, reduces the likelihood of heart attack or stroke. According to a study in Norway, people who laugh regularly tend to outlive those who don’t laugh as much, and the difference was particularly notable for patients battling cancer. Some studies have shown that laughter can relieve tension.
According to Dr. Lee Berk, an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California, laughter may help keep the body healthy as much as proper diet and exercise. Greif stimulates release of stress hormones which suppress immune function and can lead to sickness. Yet laughter appears to cause the opposite effect by completely shutting down the release of stress hormones like cortisol, while triggering the production of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.
Spending time with my niece, nephew or dog Jasper always makes me giggle. Sometimes when I need a good laugh, I ask people around me what the funniest thing that happened to them or that they heard about in the week was. Through this, I learned shortly before my cousin got married, he was very dressed up and walking across the street to see his fiancé. Since it was icy that day, he kept falling as he went across the street.
Check your area for comedy shows on or around March 19. Classes called ‘laughter yoga’ engage the facial and abdominal muscles, lungs and arms. Another suggestion for celebrating National Let’s Laugh Day is to use a funny ring tone such as a baby rapping by downloading a free funny ring tone app.
Look for funny pictures online throughout March. I saw one picture recently that said, for example; ‘while I have many superpowers, finding the start on a roll of Scotch tape is not one of them.’ That was funny to me, because I can relate.
One family joke I enjoy asks what animal do you not want to play cards with, and the answer is a cheetah! Another one asks why didn’t the melons get married. They can’t elope.
This month, make a commitment to live, love and laugh more!
Tanya Terry is a reporter for The View Newspapers. Contact her at 810-452-2645 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.