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I feel great today. Yes, I slept like a baby last night, and today is beautiful and sunny. Yes, the days are getting longer, harkening spring, and this morning I opened my back door and inhaled the fresh scent of pine woods. Yes, I have a lovely arrangement of purple lavender and periwinkle flowers on my breakfast table, but none of these things are why I feel great. 

Today, I feel refreshed, renewed, relaxed, and re-energized, but why?

Because last night, I laughed … and laughed … and laughed. The kind of laughter where tears pour down your cheeks, and you can’t catch your breath; when you get a side ache, and throw your head back, gasping for air. Last night I spent the evening with four, dear women friends. We celebrated my birthday a day late. I see these women often, and we always have a good time together, but last night was different. There was magic in the air. 

We told stories. And Laughed. Told more stories. Laughed even harder.

I cherish close friends. The kinds of friends in whom you can confide. Friends you can rely on to be honest and trustworthy, who will tell you when they think you’re off course. Friends who have known you for a long time and still love you when you show your flaws. 

When I woke up this morning, I felt happy for no apparent reason, or so I thought. Just because. But curiosity prevailed, so I looked it up. 

The Mayo Clinic has a page entitled “Stress Relief From Laughter? It’s No Joke,” detailing the psychological and physical benefits of laughter. It explains how laughter stimulates our organs, and by intaking oxygen-rich air and stimulating our heart, lungs, and muscles, we increase the release of endorphins. Who doesn’t love the rush of endorphins? Bring ‘em on! The website clarifies how laughter triggers changes in our heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a calm relaxed feeling. It describes how laughter increases circulation and stimulates muscle relaxation.

Ah-ha! Now I see. It’s no mistake that I feel great today. 

My body experienced positive, physiological chemical changes. Last night was a chill fest, and I’m healthier for it. I have to remember this restorative elixir the next time I’m under the gun, stressed, uptight, burned-out, losing it, or burning the candle at both ends.

Laughter… the medicinal tonic.

Give it a try. Let yourself go. Be young at heart and laugh out loud. See what happens. Imagine if we could inspire everyone to laugh more. Might we have a world filled with joy instead of hate, or a world where cooperation supersedes division? Might we reduce depression and anxiety by putting our cell phones in our back pockets and seeking the company of friends and neighbors more often? Perhaps we would awaken our hearts to happiness and compassion.

What do you think? What would be different if we all laughed more? 

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Lee Peterson Baker

Lee Peterson Baker is a writer. Prior to retirement, she was a marketing communications consultant. Lee is married and the mother of two sons, one of whom is dyslexic. Her dyslexic son was diagnosed when he was in first grade at which time Lee added a new career to her life experiences. She became her son’s parent advocate, helping him navigate school with a learning disability. Lee threw herself into this role and considers it one her greatest sources of inspiration and achievement. She is currently working on a book, co-authored with her 28-year-old dyslexic son. It delves into the journey they shared together – the challenges, joys, pitfalls, and successes – and offers perspective on lessons Lee learned along the way, lessons she hopes will help other families, teachers, tutors, and anyone assisting children with learning disabilities. Lee calls Afton, Minnesota home as well as the special communities of Madeline Island in Lake Superior and Whitefish, Montana.


    • Oh, Hilda. YES! There’s nothing finer than the sound of children laughing. Uninhibited joy. They can teach us adults a wonderful lesson! Hope your day is dotted with laughter. Lee

    • Barbara, Monty Python and the Holy Grail – such a tremendous movie. So clever. So funny. So off-the-wall. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an old Jackass flick. Might have to tune in this weekend. Keep the laugh generators coming!!! Send more titles as you think of them. Enjoy! Lee

  1. I could not agree more! If I catch myself not particularly smiling, just engrossed in the daily trials, I remember to smile. There are times when the giggle box overflows, no matter where one is, and the tears and loss of inhibition evaporate and you just let go, like a child in a pile of leaves. It’s contagious! It may seem somewhat antithetical in todays oddly uneven world, but reasons to be happy are not difficult to find.
    Thank you Lee, for reassurance I’m not crazy! Maybe.

    • Dear Mark, You are NOT crazy. At least no more crazy than the rest of us! I love your outlook. I’m delighted to know you are embracing joy and happiness – and spreading it around! Wouldn’t it be grand if we all indulged in one giant laugh fest every day – across the globe. I’m sure we’d all be happier and healthier – and more balanced. I love knowing your giggle box is bursting…. like a dam that can no longer contain the floodgates. Wheeee!

    • “Like a child in a pile of leaves!” What a joyous image! When I read your words, it occurred to me that I’ve never done that, but I’ve added it to my list of things I’d like to experience. First, I need to find a part of the country that gets more leaves than we do in South Texas. Brenda

      • Oh, Brenda. Come to Minnesota. When the oak leaves fall, grab a rake! I promise you a giant mound of crunchy leaves – yellow, orange, red, brown. We’ll pile ’em high then climb up over the rails of our deck. On the count of three….. One, Two, Three. JUMP! I dare you not to laugh! We’ll do it again and again. Then we’ll pull the crunchy leaves out of our hair. Pure ecstasy!

        • That’s a date, Lee!! I want to do that… as long as your deck isn’t on the second story. I’ve put a note on my calendar to check with you in September. xoxox, Brenda

  2. Wonderful sentiments as always, I am in the afterglow of too much laughter with dear family we hadn’t been able to see for two years. The noise, shouting over one another, sharing opinions , three generations, with too much wind, food the energy in the room was palpable xxxx

    • Oh, Josephine! You painted such a wonderful picture. What a treat for you to be together with your family. I hope you’ll be gathering again soon – celebrating family and cherishing time with one another. And laughing!!!!

  3. Hi Lee,
    I so enjoyed reading your post and seeing your dear friends. Nothing takes the place of being with your “gal pals.” Laughter is the best medicine, it is so good for the mind, body, soul, and spirit. I also think it releases tension that we don’t even know that we are storing. Have you also experienced laughter that leads to tears?
    Thank you for sharing.
    Belated happy happy birthday. I wish that all your dreams come true.

    • Hi Katherine, Gal pals. There are the best indeed. Wouldn’t it be great if we could “package” up the energy of laughter? We could all take a daily dose and, as you say, experience that glorious release of tension. And, when laughter turns to tears…… well, it’s the best! I’m so happy to hear from you. Hope this day brings laughter to you. Lee

    • Dear La Contessa, I do hope you can find ways to laugh more. I can only hope – and believe – your body will welcome the gift of laughter. I should think Banksy is a source of entertainment and laughter. Sending you hugs and joy…… Lee

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