Houston, Tx., November 30, 2011 — Humor and laughter are some of the most enjoyable and powerful emotions that we experience in life. It has the power to bond us together as people, regardless of our differences.
Humor is a bonding language that all of us across the world share. While handshakes, hugs, and bows all have varying meanings across cultures, smiling is known around the world and in all cultures as a sign of happiness and acceptance.
Humor bonds us closer together as people and brings us closer to our friends and loved ones when we share a mutual sense of humor. Many arguments and debates among friends and couples have been curbed because of laughter and the ability for one to laugh at a situation rather than becoming upset or taking things too seriously.
Aside from a bonding tool, laughter can also heal our bodies. Gelotologists have discovered that laughter can help with cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. Cancer Centers of America uses laughter as a method in treating cancer. Their web page cites:
According to some studies, laughter therapy may provide physical benefits, such as helping to:
- Boost the immune system and circulatory system
- Enhance oxygen intake
- Stimulate the heart and lungs
- Relax muscles throughout the body
- Trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers)
- Ease digestion/soothe stomach aches
- Relieve pain
- Balance blood pressure
- Improve mental functions (i.e., alertness, memory, creativity)
These variables help our brain chemistry; in addition, laughter also reduces the stress hormones of hydrocortisone and adrenalin. Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, even when you force it. This sudden change in mood will help you feel better and release stress. Psychologists have found that even if you’re in bad mood, you can instantly lift your spirits by forcing yourself to smile.
Humor is also empowering. In my book, When Jonathan Cried for Me, I use humor when revealing the most perilous moments in my life, even when referring to my molester as “Chester the Molester.” Humor in this situation gave me power to continue my self-honesty, and it was liberating for me to use humor in reflection of a time in my life that used to cause me great pain and held me prisoner.
Humor or laughter can also be used as a tool to deal with life’s current adversities. Dr. Gordon Allport was a psychologist and a founding father in personality psychology. He wrote: “So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter.”
In that space around us we often face a problem or an adversity; we have a moment between stimulus and response on how we can act towards these situations. When it’s possible to use humor in the moment, it makes the transitions through the issues much easier.
We live in a society where we are overprescribing medications, constantly looking for outside sources to help us, and trying so many different techniques and herbs to help promote a good attitude, heal, and promote coping. We must remind ourselves that the most powerful medicine of all may just be already in us: the power of humor and laughter.
Carter Lee is the author of, When Jonathan Cried for Me, a professional speaker, and President of Innovative Social Dynamics LLC., and is a professional speaker. To learn more about his book click here. For a personal appearance or speaking engagement click here.
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