Laughter – The best medicine
Humor is defined as “the tendency of particular cognitive responses to provoke laughter, physical reaction, and provide amusement.” It is experienced across all ages and cultures. It covers any human communication which makes people laugh or feel happy.
Humor is infectious. When your see people with roaring laughter, automatically we tend to have a smile. The contagiousness of laughter is truly positive; laughter has no caste, creed, and religion. It binds people. It helps you feel better and helping you bounce back. A home where the family shares laughter, enjoys joyful moments is a closely-knit and engaging family. It seems if you have pets at home, when you are happy, laughing your pets also enjoy – that’s the impact of laughter and humor. A good sense of humor, a positive attitude, and the support of friends and family plays a positive role in leading life successfully. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use. It is the ability or quality of people, objects or situations to summon feelings of amusement in other people.
Most importantly, if you can work on activating your sense of humor along with laughter, it is of tremendous use to protect health of your heart. According to a recent research by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, which in fact is the first one to indicate that laughter may help avert heart disease, the study found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
The study compared the humor responses of 300 people. Half of the participants had either suffered a heart attack or undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. The other 150 did not have heart disease. One questionnaire had a series of multiple-choice answers to find out how much or how little people laughed in certain situations, and the second one used true or false answers to measure anger and hostility. The most significant study finding was that people with heart disease responded less humorously to everyday life situations. They generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility.
Who doesn’t enjoy a great laugh whenever possible? Laughter is a great healer and one of the most positive and rejuvenating human emotions. It calms our nerves, reduce tension and stimulate creativity.
Many researchers including Drs. Lee Berk and Stanley Tan have studied the therapeutic benefits of laughter and humor. Laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol which narrow blood vessels, improves cardiovascular health by increasing the body’s ability to use oxygen, reduces anxiety, relaxes muscles, strengthens the immune system, releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Apart from the significant medical benefits of laughter, all of us enjoy being around people who make us laugh. We all love watching comic films, cartoons again and again simply because they help us relieve stress, and they brighten our day.
Mankind is ignorant about the purpose and meaning of laughter, and there is bliss in this ignorance. We laugh at just the right times, without consciously knowing why we do it. Most people think of laughter as a simple response to comedy, or an energizing mood-lifter. It is an instinctive behavior programmed by our genes. One of the remarkable things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously. You don’t decide to do it. While we can consciously inhibit it, we can’t consciously produce laughter. That’s why it’s very hard to laugh on command; for that matter fake laughter is very difficult
Very little is known about the specific brain mechanisms responsible for laughter. But we do know that laughter is triggered by many sensations and thoughts, and that it activates many parts of the body.
People who can laugh at themselves or at their situation are usually more flexible when problems arise. Because they are able to see the lighter side of a difficulty, they are better equipped in putting their problems in the right perspective.
Do you know the first laughter appears at about 3.5 to 4 months of age, long before we’re able to speak; laughter, like crying, is a way for a preverbal infant to interact with the mother and other caregivers.
A teacher with a sense of humor is more appreciated by the students than serious teachers. And, teacher who can add humor even to serious topics can handle the class without boring the students besides, the topic will be memorized better by the students. A teacher with a sense of humor sends an indirect message to students that he or she is enthusiastic about teaching; therefore, it becomes a positive force in the field of teaching-learning. Students remember those topics whether serious, boring, unexciting, dull, edgy etc with a pleasure. I think sense of humor is one of the most valuable resources a teacher can use in the classroom because it makes the classroom session enjoyable.
Why only teachers, don’t we all love our doctor, our lawyer, and our chartered accountant, every professional or not so professional people to have a good sense of humor? Instead of telling how serious our problems are, if these people can add little humor – the serious problems can be handled calmly. In marriage, if one partner has sense of humor, the marriage strengthens the bond between two partners; also both partners have lesser health issues.
Another thing about laughter is instead of laughing alone, or if watching a comedy film alone has its benefits, watching it with group of friends is more beneficial. In a group, laughter becomes contagious and lasts much longer than when you laugh by yourself.
Last but not least, life is not serious, we are serious. Many philosophers have said that if you can’t laugh, however rich you are, you are bankrupt. Intensity, deliberation, concentration, focus are not words synonymous to seriousness. Please realize seriousness never allows bringing out the best in us. It kills our enthusiasm, our passion, our creativity – thus killing the charm of doing a good job. Seriousness shallows our ability. Be cheerful if you want to achieve the best.
It seems, chimpanzees can share a joke just like any human but they are also capable of sharing a laugh even when they don’t find something particularly funny, scientists have discovered. A study was conducted in at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia. The study examined laughter in 59 wild chimpanzees and has found that laughter occurs not just when chimps are having fun but also when they want to promote some kind of social bonding; like human smile at each other to improve bonding and further a conversation. Now isn’t this amazing?
Therefore, friends just laugh, there is humor all over the place, I think laughter is a wonderful natural tranquilizer, use it in abundance.