Showing posts with label humor and health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humor and health. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Get Serious About Laughter–National Humor Month

Warning: Side effects of National Humor Month include laughter, incontinence (ever laugh so hard you peed your pants?), and tears (ever laugh so hard you cried?). Also, be advised that laughter is considered dangerously communicable, often resulting in outbreaks of chuckles and guffaws in others.  It can even be transmitted by computer.  Need proof? Watch the two videos below and see if they don't spread laughter. 

No joke: April is National Humor Month

National Humor Month was started in 1976 by comedian Larry Wilde  to heighten public awareness on the joy and therapeutic value of laughter, and how laughter can improve your health, boost morale, and enrich the quality of your life.  In its 37th year, National Humor Month is now hosted by comedian Steve Wilson, and the movement is more committed than ever to helping us all enjoy life a bit more, thanks to humor.

Humor and health

Is there really a connection between humor and health?  Only if it makes you laugh.

That was a joke. 

But only sort of, because any study that links humor and health is actually linking laughter and health benefits.  So, heed this warning: don’t expect a bad joke to cure what ails you.  But laughter:  that’s a whole different story. 
Laughter is the best medicine … because it’s a lot cheaper!
Physiologically and psychologically speaking, the act of laughing has certain undeniable benefits.  The real kicker: those laughter benefits often mirror the benefits of many pharmaceuticals, but for free – and with fewer negative side effects:  
  • Laughter improves vision? Laughter presents an opportunity to shift your perspective, helping you see difficult or unpleasant situations in a whole new light.  It is also said that humor decreases myopia (near sightedness), as it allows you to step outside yourself to laugh at yourself or a tough situation. 
  • Laughter: anti-anxiety medicine?  In this study, participants from Terra Haute, Indiana, were force-fed humorous videos to the point of raucous laughter, which resulted in reduced stress measurements.  Whether it works outside of Terre Haute is yet to be proven.  
  • Laughter: nature’s psychiatrist? This study suggests that humor can reduce or eliminate undesirable negative emotions.  And, unlike your psychiatrist, humor doesn't charge you by the half hour. 
  • Laughter: HIV medicine? This study shows that mirthful laughter improves NK cell activity, which increases disease resistance and decreases morbidity in those with cancer and HIV disease. 
  • Laughter: a muscle relaxant?  After a hearty belly laugh, your body will experience relief from muscle tension and stress.  The relaxing effect can last up to 45 minutes. Then, just repeat the dosage as needed for further relief.
  • Laughter: an effective pain killer? In one study, humor was shown to help ease the pain in terminally ill patients and encourage the healing process in other patients.
  • Laughter: the legal upper? Doctors tell us that laughter fires off endorphins, which are known as a natural feel-good chemical.  Laughter: take two in the morning and enjoy an overall sense of well-being all day.
  • Laughter: low-cost heart medicine? The act of laughing increases your blood flow and may even improve the function of your blood vessels.  These actions may help protect you from heart disease and heart attacks.
  • Laughter: morphine without addiction? If you want to increase your resistance to pain, try a dose of laughter.  According to this study, the presence of laughter increases pain tolerance. 
  • Laughter: immunity booster shot?  According to scientists, laughter diminishes stress hormones and boosts immune cells, improving your ability to fight disease.
It’s hard to get too much laughter.  With all these benefits linking laughter and health, why not take all the humor you can get this month?

Get some laughs, Give Some Laughs

To spread the word about National Humor Month, download the L.A.U.G.H.T.E.R. Poster, created by comedian Larry Wilde.  The poster uses the word LAUGHTER as an acronym to help you spread the word on the value of laughter.  Posted on your fridge or workplace bulletin board, it’s the perfect laugh evangelism tool.

Also try these tips for spreading a little laughter into the world, or find ways to giggle up a few smiles in your own life:
  • Seek out funny people. Or, at least funny looking people. 
  • Spend a few minutes daily with one of the many online sources for laughter, including YouTube,
  • Dealing with cancer?  Here is a list of sites with humor for and by people with cancer
  • Here’s a workplace laugh maker tickler list of ideas to add a little levity and to improve the mood at your place of business.  Sneak peek at one of the many great ideas there:  organize a “hum-along.” It's hard to be stressed when you're humming. 
  • For Henny Youngman fans, find all Henny Youngman Jokes here, including such classics as “A doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn't pay his bill, so he gave him another six months.”
  • Check out the huge collection (Good Clean Funnies List), especially their favorite jokes list, sorted and rated by readers.
  • Get jokes for kids at Yahooligans! Jokes.
But don’t stop laughing yet: National Humor Month may be coming to a close soon, but you can keep the comic spirit alive beyond April by taking advantage of the May 4 celebration of Free Comic Book Day. For this one day only, participating comic book shops across the U.S. and around the world will be giving away comic books FREE to anyone who comes into their stores.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer