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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Laughter and Lots of It

(Public Domain)
Human laughter seems to have existed way before language developed.  Some theorize that laughter connected people millions of years before words did.

Beth Dreher of Reader’s Digest points out that “babies as young as 17 days old” have been known to laugh.  Even those born deaf and blind can laugh.  Laughter therefore seems deeply ingrained within the human brain.

During a University of Maryland study, in which researchers listened in on typical shopping mall conversations, it was found that laughter is seldom tied to specific jokes.  Ninety percent of the time, laughter seems to instead serve “a bonding function between individuals in a group.”

When the going gets rough, those couples “who tackled the stressful situation with laughter,” not only fared better in the moment, but also seemed to cope better in the long run.  Couples who frequently laugh together have been found to stay together longer than those who don’t.

Laughter is highly contagious.  While monitoring human brain responses to laughter, researchers from University College London found that “the premotor cortical region” becomes activated upon sensing nearby laughter.

So keep laughing, it’s really good for you.  It not only burns calories, but also improves memory, immunity, the regulation of blood sugar, and sleep (provided you’re not staying awake to watch one comedy show after another).

Copyright January 14, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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