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By Lisa M. Adair, LMHC

When we smile or laugh our brains release dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. An article from Yale Scientific says laughter increases tolerance to pain, lowers blood glucose levels, triggers a cardio-protective process and can even help in anti-tumor defense (Mclean, K., 2011). Wow a good laugh has so many benefits which proves the ancient proverb to be true which says, “Laughter is good medicine”.

I have been married for over 33 years and many people ask what’s the secret to a long and happy marriage and I must say laughter is a big part. I don’t have a perfect marriage. My husband still leaves his socks and underwear on the floor and I am usually the one picking them up. One day I laid into him with anger about how I have to pick up after him. He smiled at me and said, “But Honey, I just like seeing you bend over.” We both broke out in a huge belly laugh.

Men seem to exhibit more road range than women. When my husband gets mad at the crazy drivers and says, “You @#%&*, learn to drive or get off the road”, I simply repeat his exact words with a quirky accent. Hearing it from my mouth seems funny and lightens the mood and then I change the subject. Distraction can be a great tool when used properly.

I have a girl friend who loves to laugh at my dumb jokes. I sometimes don’t even think they are funny but somehow when we get together we laugh so hard tears run down our legs. She and I are racquetball partners so the serving team must say the score; being in our 50’s sometimes, actually often, we would forget the score. We tried using memorization tactics such as word pictures, one is a tree, two is a light switch, three is a stool, four is a car, five is a glove, six is a gun, seven is dice, eight is a skate, nine is a cat, ten is bowling ball, eleven is a goal post, twelve is a (I can’t remember, I told you my memory was bad), thirteen is a witch, etc. So if the score was 6 to 13 we would remember by saying, “I got a gun and I am shooting the witch.” Score of 4 to 9 would be my car is running over your cat. Once with the score tied at 13 the witches were in battle and so on it went with one absurd story after another. Do I need to mention we are both blonde?

Why get mad at someone or something when you can turn it into laughter by looking at the lighter side of things. Remember laughter is good for your health and good for your relationships.

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