DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH

Laughter is a release, a bonding agent, a prescription for health, a weapon and more. When someone laughs at your jokes today-not a polite laugh but an honest-to-goodness “I get you” laugh — it feels like love. (From my daily horoscope)

When was the last time you had a real belly laugh? A laugh where tears are rolling down your face, and your whole body is moving. In that moment you forgot everything around you. This is very healing-very important.

The average adult laughs 17 times a day. Humans are one of the only species that laughs. Have you ever seen your cat or dog laugh? They kind of just look at you like your nuts or maybe wag their tail.

 

Laughter is the best medicine!!  While you’re at the pharmacy picking up your $ 500 worth of drugs or while you’re at the health food store buying mega dollar’s worth of supplements pick up a bottle of humor. At the end of my mother-in-law’s life when she was very sick, her doctor wrote on a prescription pad-Laugh!

 

The study of laughter is called gelotology. It is actually a science.

What really makes us laugh? There are a number of theories about laughter.

Incongruity theory – Jokes- We anticipate the end, which usually is something stupid, or something illogical –doesn’t fit-or fits in an abnormal way –it’s just funny. Hits us as funny. A good joke can be very clean. Knock knock jokes etc.

Superiority theory– laughing at the expense of someone else or someone’s culture etc. Not really helpful and can just be a cover up for prejudice and anger – not healthy.

Relief theory- Jokes in the middle of tension – just need a humor break in the middle of stressful situations.

Tickling – but you can’t tickle yourself because tickling needs tension and surprise.

Laughter is the rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory, and involuntary response of the body. When someone tells a joke, you need the left brain to analyze the joke, the frontal lobe activates (social emotional response), the right brain helps you “get” the joke, the back of the brain sends nerve signals that make you react.

Damage to any of these areas can prevent someone from having a “sense of humor”.

When you laugh, many things are happening in your body. 15 facial muscles contract. The respiratory system is upset enough to make you gasp. If you laugh hard enough the tear ducts are activated. The mouth opens and closes so you get enough oxygen. The face becomes red and moist from increased circulation. We create all kinds of noises – some dainty and some very loud.

There are two types of sound in laughter – ha ha ha or ho ho ho or both. Laughter Yoga uses these sounds while teaching deep breathing and laughter. It’s wonderfully healing:)

Laughter is contagious.

John Morreal, a philosopher believes that the first time humans laughed was after danger passed and they shared the relief-like wow! That was a close one! Ha ha ha.

It is something we share with others and usually you laugh with others when you trust them and feel like you belong.  People are 30 times more likely to laugh in a social setting than when alone.

I was at the book store one day and was reading a book. Across from me was a young woman reading a book and every few pages would burst out laughing as if nobody was around. She made me laugh!! It’s like The Wonky Donkey video -a grandma having the best laugh as she reads the book to her grandson.

We laugh at different things at different ages and get jokes more as we mature.

We laugh at the things that stress us out!

We may not laugh if we don’t get the joke or we don’t find the joke funny or if we just lack a sense of humor.

If the boss laughs you can laugh or if the one in power laughs it is okay to laugh – tribal.

Laughter is sometimes used to cover up anger or sadness or fear. Nervous laughter!! There is laughter in those tears or tears in the laughter. Helps to release emotions. That is why funny movies or comedy clubs are so popular.

There is scientific research that shows that humor reduces stress, increases your ability to tolerate pain or even to forget about chronic pain, and boosts your immune system

In the book,  The Anatomy of an Illness , Norman Cousins describes how he healed from his chronic illness by watching funny movies and television skits.   Carl Jung believed that all Illness is mental illness and all mental illness is a spiritual disconnection.

Don’t take things so seriously. Anything we take seriously can be made fun of!!!

Laughter decreases stress and stress hormones that cause disease. Increases killer cells that kill cancer and viruses. Can clear the respiratory tract by causing coughing or hiccupping

Laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. Lowers blood pressure. Increases vascular flow. Assists in healing.

And when there is no chance of avoiding the end of life, live in the moment. I can remember when my Mom had pancreatic cancer. She was dying but still managed to laugh. We kept her alive with humor, chocolate, high fiber Vitamix smoothies, and a powerful use of denial. We laughed a lot and also shared tears together.

The world is a crazy place. Not one of us will ever be able to figure it all out. We cannot possibly judge because we are limited humans and lack all the facts. All we can do is watch ourselves play our parts in the movie. Grab some popcorn and raisinets and laugh. You would not tear apart the movie screen so don’t take your life so serious. Sit back and observe yourself and your relationship with others.

Figure out what makes you laugh and do it! Read funny books or watch funny movies.

Surround yourself with funny people. Don’t waste your time worrying.

Develop your sense of humor. Be funny. Coco Chanel said – You only have one life to live you might as well be amusing.

Have fun!! Enjoy!! What is preventing you from laughing right now? Whatever it is……

It’s all a silly mad Idea don’t forget to laugh!!!! (A Course in Miracles)

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