Gloria P. Oberbeck, M.D. | Board Certified in Family Medicine | (303) 828-9200

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Laughter as Medicine

Laughter is a great source of pleasure and increases the flow of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for feeling calm, cool, and collected. The average 2 year old laughs more than 200 times per day while the average adult laughs 7 times per day. When we laugh we engage the parasympathetic system, which is the life feels good system that helps us feel calm and safe. When we are stressed we turn on the sympathetic nervous system, which is the tiger is going to eat us for lunch state that causes us to feel fear, uncertainty, and all those negative emotions we lump under stress. If we laugh when there is stress, suddenly the feelings of stress dissipate because the body releases a wave of feel good hormones and chemicals. When we laugh, we are usually with other people and fostering good relationships, which improves health in a myriad of ways. People who are in a good relationship live longer, have less illness, and report a higher quality of life. So laugh, laugh often, laugh loud, laugh quietly, laugh at others, laugh at yourself, laugh at how funny life is, laugh at comedians, laugh at comics, laugh at a movie, laugh at a joke, laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

Here is a great website that offers ways to invite laughter and lightness into your life.

http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm