“Laughter is the best medicine.”

You’ve no doubt heard that old saying before. Of course laughter doesn’t cure everything that ails us, but laughter is one of the best remedies we have for when we are down and dealing with stress.

Recent scientific research reveals that laughter is a potent endorphin releaser. Laughter is also contagious and has the ability to infect others. Laughing offers an abundance of benefits for the mind and body.

Recent studies released by The Journal of Neuroscience shows that laughing with others releases endorphins in the brain — our homegrown feel-good chemicals inducing euphoria.

The endorphin effect also explains why social laughter is so contagious and helps us form social bonds. Spreading endorphin release through groups of people promotes a sense of togetherness and safety. That’s why when someone starts laughing, others will laugh even if they’re not sure what everyone is laughing about. Remember the canned laughter heard on television sit-coms when a show is not filmed in front of a live audience? The laughter tract encourages those watching at home to laugh. The show’s producers figured that out long ago and ratings improved.

Laughing at ourselves in the grocery stores just before a holiday may be difficult, but it is better than griping because the checkout lines are long and tedious. You can ease the tension by joking with a fellow customer and see how much easier the pain of waiting gets.

There are an abundance of local cultural events giving you the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the company and laughter with others.

Just take look at the What’s Happening page in the Green Valley News, or visit: www.gvnews.com. You can also visit the Green Valley Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce website: greenvalleysahuarita.com, and the Town of Sahuarita: sahuaritaaz.gov for upcoming events.

Green Valley Recreation (gvrrec.org) and Quail Creek Resort (quailcreekcrossing.com) offer a lineup of concerts and shows open to the public. The Community Performance and Art Center (performingartscenter.org) hosts music and theatrical performances, and the drama students at Sahuarita Unified School District stage several shows throughout the school year, and everyone is invited to attend.

For those who want to socialize on a smaller scale, the Posada Life Community Center hosts programs all year long, from guest speakers,to a variety of musical groups, games, reader’s theatre performances, and day trips to interesting places. Visit: posadalife.org and look for Community Services on the menu bar.

The Green Valley News publishes a yearly Club Directory, a useful resource for information about local clubs and organizations in the community with lots of entertainment and entertaining things to do.

According to Psychology Today, “Humor can help with bonding, releasing tension, attracting friends and partners, and keeping children amused.” One goal of cognitive therapy is to change your perspective, your point of view. There are times in life when a person with a sense of humor lightens the mood of a meeting, family gathering, or party.

So how to foster good humor?

• Share laughter with friends. Spend more time with people who have fun.

• Make humor a priority by reading a funny book, watching a comedy, or listening to your favorite comedian.

• Remember that life is funny. The ability to laugh at yourself makes you attractive to others and can help relieve your own stress. Focus on finding the laughable moments in your day, and then tell a friend your funny story as a way to increase the power of laughter by sharing.

• Know what isn’t funny. Laughing at the expense of others isn’t funny. Be discerning about your humor by laughing with — not at — people.

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