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  • Michelle Lesher

We all could use a good laugh

Years ago I was a student in an Improv group that met weekly in the instructor's home. No matter what was going on in my life at the time, I made sure I would get to that Wednesday class. I always felt like a different person when I left.

There were approximately eight adult students who took direction from our instructor, a former actor. We played out various scenes including switching students in the middle of dialogue - another student was tapped and requested to replace someone in the scene as it was rolling. One of my favorite exercises was when we were in the middle of a scene and our instructor would ask us to switch emotions. We would start out selling a pair of shoes to a customer with us both being bashful, then switch to angry, next embarrassed and again to

sneaky; it was absolutely hysterical. Many people may recall watching Carol Burnett shows when she was doing a skit with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. There were those moments when a slim opening was found funny by one of them, and at that juncture rippled out palatable laughter that they tried to conceal.

Laugher is one of the most pleasant ways to take care of your body. A hearty chuckle chases away stress, triggers endorphins, the feel good chemicals, protects the heart, and may even help you to live longer.

Not only does hearing a good joke or a funny story bring a smile to our face, it also bonds us with people. We are united with another when we listen to their unexpected escapade, and we bring hope and color to another when we share the comical, sometimes tender ironies of our lives.

For many people who are burdened by anxiety and worry, an intermission of an uninhibited belly laugh clears the deck and refreshes the mind.

Laughter increases the number of antibody- producing cells we have working for us and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.1

No prescription needed, no negative side effects, free refills; laugher, good medicine.

  1. Savage, BM; Lujan HL, Thipparthi RR, DiCarolo SE Humor, Laughing, Learning and Health! A brief review. Adv Physio Educ 2017; 41 (3): 341-347 doi:10.1152/advan.00030.2017

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