I love to laugh. Even more so, I love to make others laugh.
Last week I wrote of my addiction to Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches. It was all, of course, meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I do love the sandwich, but addiction may be an overstatement. The column did create the largest email response I have ever received — and surprisingly, it was all positive.
I did worry after I submitted it for publication that some suffering from real addictions may think I was making light of a very serious problem. Fortunately, those who responded all thought it was funny — until I picked up my daughter, the Pastor, at the airport and she said, “I was so worried and upset when I read the first half of your column. I could not believe you were confessing to the world you have an addiction and didn’t bother telling your family first!”
A friend, and fellow columnist wrote, “I, along with most of your readers, were on my knees praying for you, until I realized your addiction was a sandwich!” The response has been surprising and huge. Thank you.
The biggest windfall has been all the pictures of BPTS and suggestions of where I can find the best locations to quench my appetite. Thank you and trust me — I’ll try them all.
I think this verifies the need to laugh in our lives. Life is better when we laugh. The news of the world doesn’t offer many opportunities for humor. Impeachment, corruption, collusion, foreign interference in our elections — it’s a wall of negative information trampling over us daily.
As I have said before, never in my lifetime have I witnessed nor experience the vitriol coming out of our nation's capital. Politicians are fighting for airtime to deposit their rehearsed soundbites rather than doing our business, the business of We the People.
So, I think it is more important than ever that we smile and laugh more. Not because what is happening isn’t important — it is — but because it is essential for our mental health that we look up from the fray, take a breath and find reasons to laugh.
Laughter really is the very best medicine.
According to research from Loma Linda University, there are eight convincing health benefits of laughter. Emily Lockhart, writing for “Active Beat,” lists the following eight benefits.
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1. Laughter is a natural pain killer. Laughter produces endorphins, that serve as a “happy brain chemical” that soothes stress, reduces anxiety and eases chronic pain.
2. Laughter strengthens your heart. Believe it or not, laughing is cardio in the same way that walking benefits your heart. So, you can walk or laugh. Better yet walk with a friend and laugh together!
3. Laughing wards off disease. A Harvard study revealed that the more you laugh and approach life positively (like reading this column, I’ll strategically insert) the fewer chronic diseases you will develop.
4. Laughter tones your abs. Spending hours doing sit ups? Get off the floor and laugh your way to an abdominal six-pack!
5. Laughing boosts immunity. Laughing activates your body’s T-cells (immune system cells) that help you ward off germs, flues and illness.
6. Laughing decreases blood pressure. The number of American’s on blood pressure medicines is at an all-time high. Don’t stop taking your prescription medicines but laugh more and you and your doctor may be positively surprised at the result.
7. Laughter banishes stress. Rough day at home or at work? Laughter won’t solve all your problems, but it is proven that it reduces the anxiety produced by living or working in a stressful environment.
8. Laughter helps those suffering from depression. A 2011 study from Oxford University shows how laughter improves our overall outlook on life.
Long before Loma Linda, Harvard and Oxford, my grandmother always said, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and it appears, even though she never attended medical school, she was right.
I hope last week's spoof on my addiction made you laugh. I laughed for hours writing it and laughed all week at the responses.
Thank you for improving my health.