Laughter is said to be the best medicine and today is Iowa’s first-ever L-O-L Day. That’s L-O-L for Laugh Out Loud. It’s part of Iowa’s effort to become the healthiest state in the nation.
Iowans are encouraged to forward a joke, tell a funny story, even to bring a whoopie cushion to work. Helen Eddy, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative and assistant vice president of health and wellness at Hy-Vee, says do whatever it takes to get a laugh and to laugh yourself.
“At Hy-Vee, we’re encouraging our employees here at the corporate office to wear clown noses, wear silly clothes, tell a funny joke, all of the above,” she says. While the overall campaign is focused on the physical health of Iowans, Eddy says this L-O-L Day zeroes in on our emotional health.
“We’re using the Laugh Out Loud Day as a way to bring attention to stress and to talk to Iowans about ways to improve their emotional health and reduce the stress in their lives,” Eddy says. “With the way the economy has been the last few years, that is one of the areas that Iowans can always use some help with.”
It may not seem like it would be a big deal, but the simple act of laughing can provide a world of benefits to the human body. “Laughing engages nearly every muscle in the body, it expands the lungs, stimulates the brain,” Eddy says. “Laughter reduces pain, lowers your blood pressure, helps you sleep. Laughter is contagious. It’s hard to keep a straight face when somebody is smiling or laughing at you and with you.”
If you think you have a knack for tickling Iowans’ funny bones, put it in writing or on videotape. “Go to our Facebook page and post a funny joke or a funny story or shoot a video of yourself telling a funny joke and then we will allow Iowans to vote on that,” Eddy says. “There’ll be some great prizes participants can win.”