Tag Archives: laughter

Taking Laughter Seriously

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Laughter

Laughter

One of the things I find myself doing less of than I used to is laughing. When this happens it is a sign to me that I’m taking life too seriously. I don’t know why I tend to do this, but I do – take life and myself too seriously at times.

Reversing the perspective on this, my ability to maintain a sense of humor and laugh more often is a very positive feature. It helps me to keep things in their proper perspective whenever I look for the upside or the humorous side of things.

Readers Digest Covers

Readers Digest Covers

And, it is FUN! Years ago I researched about some of the benefits of laughter – sort of like a take-off of the old Readers Digest title of one of their humor / joke sections called “Laughter the best Medicine.”

There seems to be a lack of definitive research done regarding the potential health benefits of laughter, at least that is what many experts say. In his book “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation,” Professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Robert R. Provine acknowledges how difficult it is to isolate laughter from qualities such as a good sense of humor or a positive attitude that also make people feel better. It also makes definitive research difficult because when people routines demonstrate a positive attitude and a good sense of humor, they tend to earn a lot of support from friends and family and these factors too, are hard to separate when attempting definitive research.

Horse and Cart

Horse and Cart

Maybe we need to work this one backwards by putting the cart before the horse. Let me explain. There are most certainly definitive things that happen to our body physiologically speaking, when we laugh.

• We breathe faster – which sends more oxygen to the tissues in our body.
• Our pulse and blood pressure go up
• The muscles throughout our body (primarily in our face) stretch
• We burn calories – According to Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, roughly 50 calories burned for a 10-15 minute laughing session. And if you find a way to combine body movement, such as waving your arms with the laughter, your heart rate is treated for a real boost.

While we can definitively study the body’s reaction and response to laughter, it is the cause and effect component that makes laughter research so hard to take seriously. People with a more scientific nature and orientation ask whether other activities might not yield the exact or very similar results. What if we replaced time laughing with time screaming loudly, or what if instead of laughing, we watched an intense drama?

This is the conclusion I draw. I like to laugh. I miss it when I find too much time has gone by without my laughing enough. I like how I feel when I laugh and I like making other people laugh. So when all is said and done, it doesn’t matter to me if it can be measured and reproduced in specific results in a laboratory. I am going to laugh more and find more joy because I choose to, even without a prescription!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

We Love Lucy

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I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy

As I was doing some research earlier online today, I noticed this little blurb that said it was “I Love Lucy Day” today. I didn’t know there was such a day but I can’t say I find fault with the decision to celebrate Lucile Ball and her contribution to American culture.

If by chance someone in my house happens on one of those channels that features the ‘oldies’ as my clan likes to call the television shows I grew up on – and I spot a clip from an old Lucy show, I find myself drawn toward it like a magnet!

I don’t know if it is just Lucy (I absolutely loved Carol Burnett, the Marx Brothers and Mel Brooks too) but there were times when I used to watch these shows and found myself laughing so hard, that I cried.

The Cast of Soap

The Cast of Soap

There’s nothing like that anymore. Do I sound like my parents now, or what? But it is true. I can’t count on anything or anyone, whether online or on television, to give me the type of warm, happy feeling I used to get when I sat down to watch an episode of Soap, or when I would wake up at 2 a.m. to watch a Marx Brother’s flick before the days of On Demand or we were able to record our own programs.

Come to think of it, I miss that! I miss being able to put aside an hour or a half hour and know I’m going to laugh out loud and really see something funny. It would be a pretty good antidote for some of the added stress we all take on in our lives, don’t you think?

Laughter

Laughter

There is research to back up the physical benefits of laughter. Not only is distressing important, which you already know I can’t say enough about – but actually laughing and exposure to humor is really important in its own right.

I have to wonder, how many of us actually find things during the course of our days (any given 24 hour period) in which we really get a real good laugh. I know that I don’t. What is upsetting to me about this is that I used to. That must mean that I let it go without much of a fight – heck, I’ll be honest, without even realizing that it was gone at all – – – until now.

Well, what better tribute to Lucile Ball than to recommit some time of each day of my life to laughter? Anybody with me?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!