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"Laughter is the best medicine."

April is National Humor Month.

Founded in 1976 by humorist and author Larry Wilde, Director of the Carmel Institute of Humor, the aim of this holiday is to promote the value of humor in improving health and enriching the quality of life. Human beings love to laugh, and the average adult laughs 17 times a day.

Humans love to laugh so much that there are actually industries built around laughter. Jokes, sitcoms and comedians are all designed to get us laughing, because laughing feels good. For us it seems so natural, but the funny thing is that humans are one of the only species that laughs. Laughter is actually a complex response that involves many of the same skills used in solving problems.

There is strong evidence that laughter can actually improve health and help fight disease. Studies show that laughter could be the simplest and surest way to reduce stress and improve physical and mental health, which is ironic because April is also National Stress Awareness Month.

Laughing can alleviate stress, reduce depression, enhance mood and even increase activity of immune cells like T-cells that attack tumors and viruses. Laughter has been shown to improve antibody activity, exercise muscles and lungs, oxygenate blood, and improve digestion. Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center has shown that constantly laughing may also help prevent heart disease.

As we mature, or at least as we grow older, life's issues can seem mighty overwhelming. With more and more studies being conducted on the science of laughter, humor has become a growing type of therapy for many. Humor therapy, laughter therapy, laughter mediation, laughter yoga and laughter clubs are all modern tools used to teach us how to deal with everyday life.

With so much uncertainty in the world today, National Humor Month is a time to remind ourselves to not take it all so seriously. Laugh more, and in the end, we will be better able to deal with it all.

Here are some tips to help put more laughter in your life:

  •    Figure out what makes you laugh and do it more often.
  •    Surround yourself with funny people or people who make you happy. Be around them every chance you get.
  •    Develop your own sense of humor and be funny every chance you get as long as it's not at someone else's expense!

Lafayette Woods, Jr. Sheriff