Laugh. Jest for the Health of It.

The benefits of laughter are not a joke.

Posted Mar 13, 2017

Pexels/Pixabay
Source: Pexels/Pixabay

I’ve had the flu for the past week. I also had the flu three weeks ago. My husband had the flu three weeks ago and he has he flu now too. Welcome to Chateau du Cough and Wheeze. We are quite the couple.

On the whole I have a fairly hearty sense of humor. But, when I get sick, one of the first things to leave me along with any energy and clear nasal passages is my sense of humor.

To proactively counter my ever-evaporating sense of "ha-ha," I’ve decided to do a series of short posts on the power of humor. When things get (or at least feel) so especially and preciously serious, that’s when I need a little inoculation of joculation to give me perspective. Sort of like using anecdotes as the antidote.

Officially Hu - mor (hyoo/mer) is:

1. A comic, absurd or incongruous quality, causing amusement.

2. The faculty of perceiving and expressing or appreciating what is amusing or comical.

Boy that really does sound funny. What about humor’s not so distant cousin (offspring really)? Laugh (laf.) is:

1. To express mirth, pleasure, derision, or nervousness with an audible, vocal expulsion of air from the lungs that can range from a loud burst of sound to a series of quiet chuckles and is accompanied by characteristic facial and bodily movements.

Seriously that’s the definition. I don’t know about you, but anything that comes with an expulsion and bodily movements rarely makes me laugh. Unless of course it’s happening to someone else. Kidding.

This is my definition. Humor is:

1.the ability to see things in way that causes you to snicker, gaffaah, laugh out loud, snort, giggle, hyper-ventilate, loose bladder control, wheeze, squeal uncontrollably, annoy others because you look like you're having too much fun, sound like a hyena in heat or simply smile.

A set of basic emotions recognized as amusement, anger, fear and sadness are shared by all humans. According to a 2010 study, laughter is universally understood as part of amusement.

With few exceptions, all of us have laughed and smiled at one time or another.

Yet humor and laughter is as individual as a fingerprint. What makes one person laugh may make another blush. Depending on your goal, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Regardless of how we define laughter or humor, the important thing is that we make room for it in our lives. The health benefits are hard to deny.

Well-known benefits of laughter:

  • Stimulates our natural pain-killers and mood enhancers, known as endorphins
  • Reduces stress and pain as well as progressive relaxation and mild pain relieving medicine
  • Gives a boost to our immune system by decreasing levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that suppresses the bodies healing abilities
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves circulation
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Increases creativity and productivity
  • Helps our breathing and lungs, by producing an effect similar to that of deep breathing
  • Has no known adverse side effects
  • Very cost effective (can’t be cheaper than free)
  • Simple to use (no batteries or special equipment needed)

How does laughing help you? List three benefits you get from giggling or using your sense of humor.

Then send them my way. victoria@victoriamaxwell.com . I’ll list them in a following post.

© Victoria Maxwell

References

Wellcome Trust. "Everybody laughs, everybody cries: Researchers identify universal emotions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2010.  www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100125173234.htm