Literal Translation: One smile is equal to ten prescriptions of tonic.
English Translation: Laughter is the best medicine.
During the last month, my sister and I have been binge-watching the wildly popular ‘90s sitcom Friends. Since we recently finished the series, we’ve been having difficulty finding an equally satisfying show to end the day with. Each episode of Friends was chock-full of comical scenarios and knee-slapping taglines. Each time my sister and I laughed along, our minds relaxed and the day’s stress was swept away.
This month’s proverb states that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and there seems to be some truth to this. There is already mounting data behind stress relief from laughter, but a recent study lead by Sandra Manninen found that laughing with others releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the brain via opioid receptors. Highly addictive opioid drugs, also latch on to these receptors, suggesting that laughter impels euphoria similarly to narcotics, but without the drawbacks. Other separate studies have found that laughter forms social bonds, stimulates brain interconnectivity, fosters higher-quality relationships, has an effect similar to antidepressants and protects the heart from cardiovascular disease.
Laughter has the power to lift spirits and lighten up moods in the most bleak occasions, even if it is just for a brief second. In her most enduring work titled “Solitude,” American author and poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox famously wrote “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.” Laughter is truly contagious, so take care of your health and spread some laughter in this new year.
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