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Laughter is the best medicine

Published June 08. 2013 09:03AM

On Tuesday (and unbeknownst to her), my daughter gave me an incredible gift.

She tagged me in a somewhat blurry video on Facebook.

What is so great about that you ask?

The video was about a minute-and-a-half of my five-month-old granddaughter absolutely cracking up at her mom as she played with her.

Her gummy smiles, giggles, squeals and belly laughter held me captive to the screen as I smiled and beamed with joy and jubilation.

I couldn't help but giggle myself as I replayed that video over and over again.

It really was intoxicating.

I am going to make several copies of it so that I will always have it and I plan to look at it whenever I need to have my spirits lifted.

I can't see how I could ever stay angry, stressed or sad when I have that to watch.

If that wasn't special enough, I also received an incredible, albeit rare, gift from my teenager.

She was sitting in the back seat goofing around with her boyfriend when she suddenly erupted into a giggle fest of her own.

I looked at her in the rear view mirror and saw something I have not seen in many, many years.

Staring back at me was the sweet, innocent little girl I used to know.

I quickly studied her face, which seemed 10 years younger and I could almost imagine her with the pigtails she used to have in her hair.

The sound coming out of her was glorious.

Her smile was wide and bright and her eyes simply glistened. Her joy was pure and for a little while, she was truly free and without a care in the world.

My heart melted.

I hated to look away from that beautiful sight but I had to watch the road since I was carrying such precious cargo.

All too soon, the moment had passed and my teenager was back once again.

I only wish I had a video of that blip in time so that I could relive it over and over as well.

I will have to rely on memory which, as I get older, fails me more and more.

If you are, or ever were, the mom of a teenaged daughter, you know the priceless value of a moment like that.

Too many are the hostile faces and harsh words exchanged during the course of the day.

Whoever invented teenage rebellion needs to be decked.

In any event, it got me thinking about how the simple act of laughter can have such an effect on a person. Then I decided to Google it.

We all know that laughter is contagious, but it turns out there are so many more benefits of laughter than most of us realize.

Laughter is healthy. It can boost your immune system and helps protect the heart by increasing blood flow and improving the function of blood vessels.

A good belly laugh can relive muscle tension and stress and relaxes you for up to 45 minutes later.

Laughing releases endorphins which can help to temporarily relieve pain and also give you a natural, healthy "high."

Laughter strengthens relationships and draws others to you.

It can even help defuse conflict.

I will have to keep this in mind the next time my teenager and I go at it.

I love to torture my husband by making him eat things I know he will think are yucky while videotaping his gagging and highly dramatic response and then posting it on Facebook and YouTube.

I laugh so hard that it hurts and usually triggers my asthma, which results in a lengthy coughing spell.

My eyes water, my nose runs and I snort too.

People have told me that they didn't know what was funnier; my husband's display or my laughter in the background.

Some call my video postings spousal abuse; he calls it "love."

Henry Ward Beecher said, "Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it," while 18th century French writer, Nicholas Chamfort wrote, "The most wasted of all days is that in which we have not laughed."

I couldn't agree more.

We all need to let down our guard and just laugh more a lot more.

Who cares what other people think; have fun, be silly be a complete dork. Just laugh.

Laugh long, laugh hard and laugh out loud.

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