April is National Humor Month. It was founded by humorist and author Larry Wilde, Director of the Carmel Institute of Humor. Its purpose is to promote the value of humor in improving health and enriching the quality of life.
I found my life calling in teaching individuals how to use humor as a coping mechanism to manage their stress. Laughing comes easy to me and for members of my family. I grew up in an Italian family where there was a great deal of drama sprinkled profusely with laughter. I was never chastised for laughing except in school where I was given the title of “class clown”.
When I first embarked on my career, there was very little research on how humor and laughter affected the body/mind. However, over the ensuing years, many articles, books and behavioral scientists have found incredible benefits to what most of us take for granted. Following are some of the ways laughter is utilized: * The body temperature rises, making you feel warmer. * The pulse and blood pressure drop. * Muscles contract, then relax as you laugh. * Breathing becomes deeper. * Serum oxygen levels are elevated, which benefits the cardiovascular system, heightens energy levels, and reduces tension.
Laughter also boosts your immune system. It activates T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which help destroy invading microorganisms. In addition, laughter increases the production of immunity-boosting gamma interferon and speeds up the production of new immune cells. It also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can weaken the immune system. It appears when we laugh, we release endorphins, which are chemical cousins to the opiates heroin and morphine, natural painkillers. Laughing is considered aerobic. Norman Cousins, who is considered to be on of the pioneers in advocating for humor as a healing mechanism, coined the phrase, “inner jogging”. If you laugh for ten minutes straight, you may be able to burn 40 calories. Makes a good case for “laughing your butt off”.
What I find to be an unfortunate development in our culture is that I see fewer smiles and hear less laughter. Oh you can find a lot of excuses for why this is happening. But what’s the point? We can expend a lot of time delving into the reasons why certain things happen and often we come up empty-handed. Why not take the time and energy to bring more laughter, humor and joy into your life if you have found it taking a hiatus? It helps your brain to have a little vacation from your problems.
Figure out what makes you laugh and try to do it more often. Surround yourself with funny people if possible, or try to see the funny in them. Take an improv class or read a funny book. And be funny whenever you can—as long as you’re not hurting anyone’s feelings.
5 Replies to “National Humor Month. Let’s get well with Laughter!”
Laughter is like yawning, one does it and all do it. Keep on laughing!
some people (lately) have been laughing at my misfortune ;( something breaks and they laugh :/ I don’t appreciate it. some of them are on mood -modifying drugs. Prozac. Me getting the flu is nothing to laugh at. Made me angry.
Laughter is not only healthy. It’s fun! I love when something tickles me just right, whether it be an action I’ve witnessed, or a spontaneous sentence, or a terrific joke, or one of my furbabies doing something absolutely ridiculous. Just for the fun of it, I would like to paste a comment I made on Facebook a couple days ago. A practical joke that hurt no one and truly made me laugh.
“Lost my iPhone yesterday. Phoned it. No answer. Receive a phone call.
Weird voice says “You called me?”
I say “Um, yes, you have my phone?”
Weird voice replies, “No, it’s my phone.”
I say ” ”
Then I say “What’s your name?”
Weird voice pauses and says “Chicken”
I say “Chicken?”
Chicken says “It’s my phone” and hangs up.
Husband says “Girl or guy?”
I say “I can’t tell, but they’re being a dick”
I start to get on my Mac to use the ‘find my iPhone’ app AND delete everything, and I get another call.
On a quest. Any good ideas for payback to a pranking drama major daughter and her husband whose idea it was?”
This received a lot of fun comments from friends and family.
Thank you, Loretta, for what you do and the laughter you share.
This very same daughter and I volunteered at the venue years ago when you came to Calgary.
LOL and OMG you are coming back to NH. Can’t wait. I’ve used your tools for many years…I bought a princes wand that blinks and makes sound and waved it when any employee wanted me to do the un-achievable. Especially after consulting my eight ball. I have a little Viking hat … and wore it to meetings telling people I was in training (lol) but within the past few years I’ve had some serious health issues and updated my headgear. For one surgery I wore a princess tiara … yes even into the operating room and for another I wore my BIG Viking hat with braids…the surgeon asked to borrow it and wore it up and down the corridor. I tell everyone about you and am thankful for being introduced to your humor and the many times I’ve seen you live. Sometimes though I “still count my change” Ha ha