It is said that it takes only 17 muscles to smile whereas you require 43 muscles to frown. But still a smile is rare commodity. Laughter is an extended version of a smile. Unless we learn to smile, we will never know what laughter is. It is strange that as kids we never had any dearth for laughter. For each and everything in life, we used to find something to laugh at. But as we grew up, somehow we lost this wonderful trait. We are at loggerheads with our own serious self. The childish wonderment has long since died in us. The sooner we realize this and make tangible amendments, the better we will be able to lead a happy and contented life.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Laughter also makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh-or even simply a smile-can go a long way toward making you feel better.

The best part of laughter is that it is really contagious. Just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun. If we just ponder as to what kind of movies that we usually like, more than 90 % would vouch for comedies. The likes of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy have long since tickled our funny bone. For reasons unknown to us, we used to walk out of the movie theatre fully charged and energized. We never knew the benefits of good hearty laugh. Well, here is what clinically happens in our body. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Laughter also protects the heart, improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect us against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving our resistance to disease. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving our muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. That is more than one reason to reiterate the fact that laughter is truly the best medicine.

Always remember that seven days without laughter makes one "weak"!

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