WOW Word-Of-the-Week #381: Guffaw

November 22, 2011 by  

Guffaw – a hearty, boisterous burst of laughter.

When was the last time you experienced true, unforced laughter? Do you remember what triggered it and how it made you feel? Do you know that laughter can have a positive impact on your health?

This week’s WOW is the polar opposite of last weeks on upsets. It’s important to have balance! In a Washington Post article titled, “HEALING POWER OF LAUGHTER – IT’S NO JOKE : Research shows a good yuk helps immune system, reduces stress” author Carolyn Butler writes, “There is a growing body of research indicating that a good guffaw may improve immune function, help lower blood pressure, boost mood and reduce stress and depression.

“A new study from Oxford University supports a long-held theory that laughter triggers an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals that can help you feel good, distract you from pain and maybe deliver other health benefits. Research shows that people who laugh need less pain medication after surgery.”

Grandaughter Guffaw

“The key is that real, true, unforced laughter is an energetic, stressful activity that stirs up all of our physiological systems …involving strong vocalization, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure and muscle contractions all over the body,” says Robert Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland. Endorphins are released only when we laugh till it hurts.”

Provine goes on to say, “Real laughter is unconscious – you don’t decide to laugh; it just happens And when you laugh, you’re almost always in the presence of another person, whether they’re physically present or imagined on radio or TV. Laughter in social settings is 30 times as common as when a person is alone.” People are far more likely to giggle when others do. It could be that it’s the playful interaction with friends, family and lovers that makes the difference.”

For my long time subscribers and audience members you’ve heard this before. And I don’t think we can be reminded too often about the benefits of hearty laughter. So this week focus on who you laugh with. Is it one of your favorite customers, guests, members or clients? Is it one your family members? Or is it one of your friends? The Holidays don’t have to cause “upsets.”  All you have to do is stay balanced with some good guffaws!