The Importance of Laughter

Essay by mikke038High School, 11th gradeA, May 2007

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Good morning judges, fellow students, and staff. The late Erma Bombeck once wrote, "If I could live my life over, I would have laughed more." Bombeck was one of America's funniest columnists and author of many theses on humor of life. She KNEW the importance of laughing. For one, people who laugh is pleasant to be around; try pulling a long face all day, and pretty soon you will notice others avoiding you. The power of laughter can never be underestimated. It is a part of life.

Laughter is a universal language. It is extremely beneficial to the human body, and it has no known side effects. As Psychiatrist Robert Holden states, laughing produces happy chemicals in the body called endorphins, which work in the brain to give us an overall feeling of contentment. When you laugh, all thought process stops and no other thoughts enter our mind. This is a way of relieving stress, thus lowering blood pressure, & according to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland, this can in turn indirectly reduce one's risks of a heart attack and other health related problems.

How laughing can contribute to physical fitness is known to so few, it is almost a secret. Scientists estimate that laughing 100 times is equivalent to a 10-minute workout on a rowing machine, or 15 minutes on a stationary exercise bike. The mere act of laughing exercises the diaphragm, as well as the abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles. & If we laugh, and I don't mean a fake little "giggle" when you hear an old knock-knock joke, unless you happen to find it hilarious, but a real, strong laughter, for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, we can increase our energy consumption by 10 to 40 calories...