Word-Of-the-Week #847: Laughter

October 29, 2020 by  

Laughter – the sound of happiness and amusement.

When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?  Did you know that having a good sense of humor is a contributing factor to longevity?

This week more exerpts from the 2nd half of the Beth Ward article on The Power of the Punchline. Health benefits of a good laugh are no joke. Physical reaction to comedy can help ease stress, aid focus, even boost long-term well-being.

  • Laughter is contagious

“Comedy is available to us on the Internet, through streaming services and on television. But many prefer their laughs live. The market size of the comedy-club industry had increased almost 2 percent every year from 2015. Then came the pandemic, and subsequent restrictions — and this steady growth came to an abrupt halt.

In San Diego, some comics were experiencing withdrawal from making people laugh — or hearing people laugh, in the case of virtual performances.

Three local stand-up comics — Alexander James, Jim Pine and Chris Espinoza — created Drive-Up Comedy, where the audience stays in their cars.

“Our Drive-Up Comedy performers are ecstatic,” Espinoza said. “As much as we need it, the audience needs it. If you’re in a good mood, you’ll live longer.”

Many medical professionals back that up, saying that a sense of humor is a contributing factor to longevity. Just look at comedians Betty White, 98, and Mel Brooks, 94.

  • Sharing commonality

Another big plus of humor is that it encourages human interaction. Sharing a chuckle — even virtually — can create a feeling of connection.

“When you have a similar response with someone to a stressful or absurd event, it’s a sharing of a commonality,” Crumpler said.

Sharp’s Crumpler noted that when people are going through the same experiences, such as financial problems and even the tragedy of death, laughter may feel awkward, but it is crucial.

“We need to not forget those things but not let them overwhelm us,” he said. “Humor’s a unifying factor that can points out differences of opinion in a constructive way. We need to cooperate and become communal.”

“It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”    – DR. SEUSS, 1957

  • Laugh for real

Are you afraid you’re losing your sense of humor? In 2020, it’s understandable. If your usual laugh-inducing outlets aren’t helping, try learning to laugh.

“The physiology behind fake laughter is to stimulate the motion and mechanism of laughter. It’s like push-starting a car,” said Dr. Hans Crumpler of Sharp HealthCare. “Fake-laughter methods are meant to kickstart pleasure chemicals within the brain.”

This week’s focus is on is on the sound of happiness and amusement coming from you. How easy is it for you to find humor in everyday life these days? Did you know that laughter kickstarts pleasure chemicals in the brain? Do you know how to have FUN?

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