Today’s technology and resources enable people to educate themselves on any topic imaginable, and human health is one of particular interest to all. From diet fads to exercise trends, sleep studies to(5) nutrition supplements, people strive to adopt health- ier lifestyles. And while some people may associate diets and gym memberships with sheer enjoyment, most of the population tends to think of personal healthcare as a necessary but time-consuming,(10) energy-draining, less-than-fun aspect of daily life. Yet for centuries, or perhaps for as long as conscious life has existed, sneaking suspicion has suggested that fun, or more accurately,funniness, is essential to human health. Finally, in recent years(15) this notion, often phrased in the adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” has materialized into scientific evidence. When a person laughs, a chemical reaction in the brain produces hormones called endorphins. Other(20) known endorphin-producing activities include exercise, physical pain, and certain food choices, but laughter’s appearance on this list has drawn increasing empirical interest. Endorphins function as natural opiates for the human body, causing what(25) are more commonly referred to as “good feelings.” A boost of endorphins can thwart lethargy and pro- mote the mental energy and positivity necessary to accomplish challenging tasks. Furthermore, recent data reveal that the laughter-induced endorphins are(30) therapeutic and stress reducing. This stress reduction alone indicates signifi- cant implications regarding the role of laughter in personal health. However, humor seems to address many other medical conditions as well. One study(35) from Loma Linda University in California found that the act of laughing induced immediate and significant effects on senior adults’ memory capaci- ties. This result was in addition to declines in the patients’ cortisol, or stress hormone, measurements.(40) Another university study found that a mere quarter hour of laughter burns up to 40 calories. Pain toler- ance, one group of Oxford researchers noticed, is also strengthened by laughter—probably due to the release of those same endorphins already described.(45) And a group of Maryland scientists discovered that those who laugh more frequently seem to have stronger protection against heart disease, the illness that takes more lives annually than any other in America. Studies have shown that stress releases(50) hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict, but laughter, on the other hand, releases chemicals that cause blood vessels to dilate, or expand. This dilation can have the same positive effects on blood flow as aerobic exercise or drugs that help lower(55) cholesterol. Already from these reputable studies, empirical data indicates that laughter’s health benefits include heart disease prevention, good physical exertion, memory retention, anxiety remedy, and pain(60) resilience—not to mention laughter’s more self- evident effects on social and psychological wellness. Many believe that these findings are only the begin- ning; these studies pave the way for more research with even stronger evidence regarding the powerful(65) healing and preventative properties of laughter. As is true for most fields of science, far more can be learned. As for how laughter is achieved, these studies used various methods to provoke or measure laugh-(70) ter or humor. Some used comedy films or television clips; others chose humor-gauging questionnaires and social—or group—laughter scenarios. Such variance suggests that the means by which people incorporate laughter into their daily routine matters(75) less than the fact that they do incorporate it. However, it should be said that humor shared in an uplifting community probably offers greater benefits than that found on a screen. It is believed that young people begin to laugh(80) less and less as they transition to adulthood. Time-pressed millennials might, in the interest of wellness, choose isolated exercise instead of social- or fun-oriented leisure activities. However, this growing pool of evidence exposes the reality that(85) amusement, too, can powerfully nourish the health of both mind and body. Humor is no less relevant to well-being than a kale smoothie or track workout. But, then, some combination of the three might be most enjoyable (and, of course, beneficial) of all.
Which value shown on the graph most closely relates to the idea in lines 76-77 that “humor shared in an uplifting community” increases resilience to pain?
Category:Reading / Synthesis
Strategic Advice:Decide if the phrase “uplifting community” is a reference to a person alone or a group of people.
Getting to the Answer:Choice (D) is correct. The graph shows that shared humor with others most significantly increased pain tolerance in individuals.
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