As we all know, maintaing a successful relationship takes work and dedication, but good, old-fashioned fun is a big part of the equation as well. A great many of my best and sweetest memories involve laughing with my partner. "Laughter is the best medicine" is an old adage, but research shows it isn't just a cliche after all.
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According to Martie Haselton, associate professor of psychology at UCLA,
. . . the research is showing that humor is playing a surprising and important role in human relationships, perhaps as important as physical attraction.
Finding someone with a sense of humor is often an important quality in a potential partner, but Rod Martin, president of the International Society for Humor Studies, has found that while women want to find a partner who makes them laugh, men look for women who will laugh at their jokes, which makes attracting a partner a little harder for the funny ladies.
Turns out, laughter between couples can be a sign of trust, too.
Humor and laughter often communicate something much deeper than the appreciation of a joke. Robert Provine, author of "Laughter: A Scientific Investigation," said that 90 percent of the things we laugh at aren’t even remotely funny.
"Most laughter is not about jokes," he explained. "It's about relationships between people.” Laughing says more about how someone feels toward another person; it's an indicator of how much they like, trust or agree with that person, Provine said.
And while laughter can be helpful when resolving conflict, real problems can erupt if a partner doesn't know when to get serious! For some surprising information on the connection between laughter, courtship and love, click here.
As for laughter's medicinal qualities, this article from Natural Health reports significant findings about laughter's ability to help defend against infections.
Laughter boosts the activity of your immune system's natural killer cells and other defenses against infections, according to a 2001 study in Alternative Therapies in Health, and Medicine. It also appears to reduce the amount of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that your body produces during times of stress. Repeated release of these hormones over time can weaken your immune system.
That link also includes 4 quick tips for lightening up, calming your body and mind, and preventing stress from taking over.
Let's laugh a little more, at ourselves and with each other, ladies. And what if GiggleSugar actually prevented a cold? How much laughter is there in your house? How about the house you grew up in?