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Laughing Through the Pandemic

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Laughing Through the Pandemic

Let’s Smile and Laugh at Home!

Over two hundred years ago, Lord Byron, English poet and politician, wrote, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

Where is Lord Byron when we need him?

Let’s look at some facts. It takes .03 seconds to smile. Research has shown that smiling reduces stress, sends positive messages, and is contagious. Smiling also triggers feel-good emotions – a smile can change a bad moment into a plus and a negative into a positive.

These days we need all the smiles and laughs we can get.

Just look at these guys. Do they make you smile?

What happens in your brain when you smile? It activates neural messages that benefit health, happiness, and perhaps increase stamina to help make it through stay-at-home orders. It’s accomplished with a chemical that moves between nerve fibers, transferring signals from one cell to another. This feel-good transmitter is called dopamine.

When dopamine is released it can relax your body, lower your heart rate, and reduce your blood pressure. Let’s get a big smile out of this:

It’s no surprise we see so many jokes, riddles, videos, and images during this time. We need to smile to get through the long days of staying-at-home. It’s part of being human. There’s no lack of it on the internet, text, in email, TV, photos, videos . . . wherever you pass the hours.


Smiling and laughing provides both entertainment and a way to cope with tough, stressful situations.

Nathan A Heflick Ph.D, writes in Psychology Today, “In these times, we need humor. We need it to alleviate stress. We need it to distract us from our lives, which despite a pandemic lurking, are becoming increasingly boring and more mundane for millions of people.”

Like this?


Even in these dark times, people from all walks of life make jokes to relieve the tension. The Late Night Television Hosts are struggling (not always successfully) to do their shows without audiences and sometimes, like Jimmy Fallon, withtheir kids to lighten things up. How about the astronauts in space?


Of course the biggest joke is . . . but we won’t go there.

Not only does humor ease stress, it also provides a way to express how we feel about what’s going on in the world around us. All the discussions, debates, family arguments don’t say it as efficiently and simply as this:


Or this:


We can laugh, make political statements, even ridicule the crazy situations we find ourselves dealing with:

Humor gives us a breath of fresh air when we can’t go outside, and something to post on face book or forward to like-minded others.

It changes the stakes.

Here’s some fun trivia:

*You laughed before you could walk or speak.

*One study found that 10-15 minutes of laughing burns 40 calories.

*One scientist discovered that rats and monkeys laugh too (although those in the know will say that dogs and cats laugh and smile more).

*Smiling and laughing are highly contagious!

*Heavy laughing and smiling can strengthen your immune system.

*World Laughter Day is the first Sunday in May. This year it’s May 3.

Stay-at-home. I hope this blog brings you smiles. Feel free to forward it to anyone interested in having a good laugh. If you get cranky, read this again, put on your face mask, and think about Lord Byron’s “cheap medicine.” Maybe you’re even interested in this pandemic ad?

Smile, laugh, and stay healthy. This too will pass.

Dr. Jeri Fink, author, photographer, traveler, and family therapist, challenges the creaky myths of aging. She believes that now is a creative, exciting time to grow and explore new ideas, people, and places. Visit Dr. Jeri at,,   or to enter her world of discovery, fun, and insights. Her fiction project, Broken, is a series of seven thrillers that defy tradition. She is presently working on Book Web Minis – a series of fun, fast and positive mini books (50-70 pages long) where readers partner with the experts. Check it out at

She tells us: “I challenge the art of writing by merging fact, fictional elements, interactivity, and photography into nonfiction mini books. I draw from my training in social work, experience in individual and family therapy, professional research, and passion for exploring positive psychology. My 32 published books, hundreds of articles and blogs, speaking engagements, and active online presence all reflect who I am today.”

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