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The Serious Benefits of Laughter

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
Irish blessing

Research affirms the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s also a powerful tool for social cohesion. Cited in the New York Times, UC Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner tells us, “Thanks to the scientific study of laughter, we know that when friends laugh, they laugh in unison, their fight-flight response (e.g., increased blood pressure) is calmed and mirror neurons fire; shared laughter becomes a collective experience, one of coordinated action, cooperative physiology and the establishing of common ground.”

In an article that forms the basis of a new Exchange Reflections, “Humor: Seriously Important,” educator Deb Curtis notes, “Laughing brings more laughing and often the children will laugh with eager anticipation of others joining in… There is a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from sharing these moments with each other.” Curtis cites a 2015 study that says, “people who laugh more are healthier, experience less stress, are less likely to be depressed and may even have an increased resistance to illness or physical problems.” Curtis concludes, “We have a great resource in children when it comes to increasing the humor, laughter, and joy in our lives.”

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