Humor is infectious. Haven’t you heard people saying “Good sense of humor”? The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle or sneeze. How many of us wholeheartedly laugh? Famous quote “Laughter is the best medicine” is not a mere quote but has lots of meaning to it. Irony is many of us really forget to laugh. Stress has taken a toll on many of us. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. 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.
Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh or even simply a smile can go a long way toward making you feel better and laughter really is contagious. Just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter and play also adds joy, vitality, and resilience. And humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times. Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life. People who incorporate humor and play into their daily lives find that it renews them and all of their relationships.
What is Depression and what is really humor?
Depression is a mood disorder with varying symptoms, but often makes a person feel sad, hopeless, worthless, anxious, irritable or tired; Stress, anxiety, change, illness, death or a combination of several things causes depression. It also occurs because of chemical imbalance within the brain. If you looked up “humor” in a dictionary, you would see a similar definition to what Patty Wooten notes in her article; Humor is an Antidote for stress” she also says “Humor is the quality of being laughable or comical” or “a state of mind, mood, and spirit”. Don’t you feel good after a hearty laugh? Most people do. This is why humor works well against depression. Good feelings and replaces the bad ones. Humor distracts us and gives us a different perspective on our problems and with an attitude of detachment, we feel a sense of self-protection and control in our environment. That detachment not only gets our mind off our misery, but also helps move our train of thought into another track. Laughing is a perfect example of this. When your thoughts are interrupted by laughter, don’t you often forget about what you were previously thinking? Depression is the number one disease today. It is a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, and eat. It is a disabling condition and can affect a person many times during their life. Depressed people seldom laugh and laughing people are seldom depressed.
Laughter is strong medicine for mind and body
A good sense of humor is a great inner strength. Try to see the funny side of situations and you’ll often be able cope better. Jokes have a way of making worries seem less important. When someone finds something funny, there are different ways of expressing it. Common responses of humor include laughing and smiling.
Doing things that you enjoy is also good for your overall emotional wellbeing. Watching sports with a friend, having a soak in the bath or meeting up with friends for coffee are examples of small activities that can improve your day.
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress leaving muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Benefits of humor or laughter
- Physical health benefits
- Boosts immunity
- Lowers stress hormones
- Decreases pain
Mental health benefits
- Adds joy and zest to life
- Eases anxiety and fear
- Social Benefits
- Strengthens relationships
- Attracts others to us
- Enhances teamwork
- Helps defuse conflict
- Promotes group bonding
Mental & Physical health benefits
- Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Creating opportunities to laugh
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
- Go to comedy clubs
- Read funny pages
- Seek out funny people
- Share a good joke or a funny story
- Check out bookstore’s humor section
- Host game night with friends
- Play with a pet
- Go o a “laughter Yoga “ class
- Goof around with children
- Do something silly
- Make time for fun activities like bowling, golfing or karokae
Incorporating more humor and play into your daily interactions can improve the quality of your love relationships, as well as your connections with co-workers, family members and friends.
Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to
- Be more spontaneous. Humor helps get your head away from your troubles.
- Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
- Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
- Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.
- Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments
- Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life.
- Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office.
- Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behavior of other people.
- Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
- Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly and laughing.
The ability to laugh, play and have fun with others not only makes life more enjoyable but also helps you solve problems, connect with others and be more creative. People who incorporate humor and play into their daily lives find that it renews them and all of their relationships. Life brings challenges that can either get the best of you or become playthings for your imagination. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find new solutions. But when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning. Laughter is such an intrinsic part of our lives that we sometimes forget about it which is very odd. Finally, humor helps us to be content. Fortunately, if you’re attracted by the idea of using laughter to improve your spirit and health, chances are you’ve already got a good sense of humor Now a days many doctors use humor to treat their patients and it is very successful. So it is a clear Yes that a healthy sense of humor helps combat depression and boosts mental and physical health. Even if laughter proves to aid recovery, it may not be an asset in the long run. Most of all, one has to see life optimistically and enjoy lighter things.