Posted on May 17th, 2006

According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, the ability to laugh is a good indicator of heart health. Their study of 150 patients support the fact that laughter has the potential to improve heart health by as much as forty percent.

There are so many funny things in the world, it’s amazing we ever frown. I made an effort yesterday to catalog all of the hilarious moments throughout my day. I gave up after an hour; there were just too many. I laugh easily, but it takes a lot to get a true belly laugh out of me.

You know the kind. It starts with a chuckle, a deep noise in the back of my throat. Then it grows into bursts of sound from the mouth, punctuated by an occasional gasp for air. Finally, the entire body is shaking, yet all noise has ceased. Typically, when I reach this point, I have tears rolling down my face, I can barely breathe, and there’s no way I could speak if I tried!

Yesterday I had one of those moments. A totally out of control laughing experience. As usual, it was a result of my own behavior. I was in my martial arts class, learning a new sparring combination. I’ve attended classes for the past year, so I’m no longer completely inept, but I still have my moments. This happened to be one of them.

Picture a woman of small stature stepping up to a man who is at least a full foot taller. She takes a defensive stance, her feet solidly planted, fists raised in front of her head for protection. He gives the signal for her to start, she steps back, cocks her fist and fires off a roundhouse punch at his head. He moves to block, unnecessarily as it turns out. Her hand continues it’s forward trajectory, coming around as roundhouse punches are apt to do, until it connects with her jaw.

Stunned, she rubs her face. That was not the intended target! She looks at her clenched fist for a moment in confusion, then looks up to see her partner shaking with laughter. Unable to resist, she joins him. It seems funnier by the moment and soon the laughter grows to a point of no return. Five minutes later, I had to excuse myself from the training hall to use the restroom and make some attempt to regain my dignity.

Physical comedy has always brought me to tears. I love reading a passage in a novel, or watching a scene in a movie, depicting some action with unintended consequences. I fully enjoy laughing at these comedic scenes, largely because I can picture myself easily doing the same! Falling, tumbling, tripping, you name it, I’ve done it. If I could do it on cue, I would be famous.

Laughter is a great stress reliever. After a good laughing session, muscles are relaxed and your mind is clear. Most of us spend a great amount of time being serious so we need the comic relief laughter provides. Life is full of funny, you don’t have to look hard to find it so open your eyes and laugh that stress away! Your heart will thank you for it.

Sonia Fischer is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing.

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