Inside Columbia


Laugh It Off

By Inside Columbia

Lessen your stress with a good laugh at Pints & Punchlines, Thursday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m., at Rose Music Hall. 

You know the old saying, “Laughter’s the best medicine?” Well data is mounting that it’s true.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a hearty ha ha has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. It can:

  • Stimulate organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up then cools down your stress response, and it can increase then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. It may: 

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.

So go enjoy a good guffaw. Hopefully you’ll be laughing at the material, not the people presenting it!

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