You’ve heard it before: Laughter is the best medicine. Don’t laugh, because studies show that laughter does have tangible health benefits. It’s something children know; healthy kids laugh as much as 400 times per day, while adults laugh on average only 15 times during the day. So why is laughter good for you? Here are a few benefits that researchers have discovered:

• Reduced stress hormones – cortisol, dopamine, adrenaline
• Increased good hormones – endorphins and neurotransmitters
• Physical/muscle relaxation
• Better breathing
• Internal organ exercise – Some doctors say that a good laugh gives the diaphragm, abdomen, and heart a workout.
• Perspective on life

Probably you have days, maybe lots of days, when your MS symptoms make you want to do anything but laugh. But even in the midst of a bad MS day, try to find a moment or two to laugh:

• Maybe at a funny TV program,
• A humorous book (try author Dave Berry for hilarious books that you can read in small spurts),
• or a good joke that a friend emails you.
• Rent a funny movie and escape for a few hours into the world of laughter on those days when you’re struggling with MS fatigue, blues or mental fog
• Spend time around small children – their pure approach to the world is healing and their comments are endearing and often unintentionally hilarious!
• Dogs bring a smile to millions of people, so take some time to be with your best friend, who will do his or her best to put a smile on your face.

No one is suggesting that MS is something you can just laugh away; it’s a serious, lifelong condition that throws you good and bad moments, sometimes one right after the other. But we do say that you can never give up or give in, and never should you lose the feeling that a good belly laugh can offer you.