Sunday, January 21, 2018

Get Your Laugh On!

July 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna

I was reading world news today. Yeah….kind of a downer, I know. And then I saw a cartoon that cracked me up. After laughing, I felt so much better than only seconds earlier, as though I’d increased some blood flow, and so in keeping with my internet addiction/attraction …

I started to research how many muscles we use when we laugh. Having just begun a new attempt at weight loss based on lifestyle change, I was thinking that perhaps I could discover a way to expend some calories and do muscle toning while chillin’ on the sofa, reading and laughing at jokes and cartoons.

You have to think outside the box sometimes, you know. So, with a very brief search, here was my favorite response found to the question, “how many muscles are used in laughing.”


Diverse facial, jaw, and throat muscles are involved in the laugh, including levator labii superioris, risorius, mentalis, depressor anguli oris (the “frown” muscle), orbicularis oris, buccinator, and depressor labii inferioris (Ruch 1993). 2. Laughter may be accompanied by a general lowering of muscle tonus and an increase in bodily relaxation, leading one, e.g., to “collapse in laughter” (see Ruch 1993). 3. In laughing, the abdominal muscles and diaphragm contract in a respiratory “fit,” not unlike sneezing or crying. Zygomatic and risorious muscles of the face contract in a grimacing smile; mandibular muscles may rhythmically contract as the lower jaw quivers. In a belly laugh, heartbeat accelerates, blood pressure rises, and vocal cords may uncontrollably vibrate.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I was laughing by the time I got to “collapse in laughter.” Maybe you had to be sitting here, thinking about how seriously humorous this serious humor explanation was to me. I am easily entertained, though. In fact, here’s one I liked. The research revealed that there’s a title for someone who studies humor: gelotologist. Wouldn’t that be … um … a fun career…?

I’ve heard it said that if you laugh several times a day, you keep the doctor away. I’ve also heard eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now, it seems to me that if I’m trying to burn calories while I’m sitting here with my laptop, it’s probably better to do the former rather than the latter. But – who’s the expert? Who really knows about laughter’s physical benefits? Ahhh…you know where I’m headed…..

Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (King James Bible)
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Amplified Bible)

I suppose it’s obvious that the Maker knows how His creation functions best. And as my doctor has said to me (paraphrased), we know that the mind/body connection is very strong, but we don’t have as much conclusive evidence as we will have one day. However, we do know that a positive mind, laughing, and humor provide the body with the ability to cope with illness and life’s stressors, enhancing the immune system. Translation: “Get your laugh on!”

Okay – back to the question of HOW MANY muscles does it take to laugh? I didn’t find that, but I did find a speculation that it takes 17 facial muscles to smile and 43 to frown. By the way, was “undetermined” about those numbers. (I knew some of you die-hard researchers would want to check that with Snopes, so I thought I’d save you the time.)

Personally, it sure feels better to laugh than to frown. And God says it makes your heart merry, and is good for your health. I want a merry heart!!

In the end, I suppose that if accuracy of the numbers does matter to you – then you are probably destined to become a gelotologist!

Born and raised in a small suburb of Houston, Nancy grew up the middle child of a working-class family. After a decade of exploring and living in Alaska, Arizona and Oregon, her family ties led her back to the Houston area, where she currently resides as a single mother of a 25-year-old. Throughout her adult years, she has acquired her associates degree and paralegal certification, while working alongside nationally recognized legal teams to provide clients with excellent representation. Managing one of life’s many potential curve balls, she is currently two years into a cancer journey – waiting patiently as God does battle on her behalf — and continues to rest in the power of the blood and name of Jesus as she seeks to live out God’s plan for her life. Oh yes – and she loves to sing and participate with friends in karaoke!

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One Response to “Get Your Laugh On!”
  1. Valerie Webre says:

    This makes me smile 🙂

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