The true value of laughter may be in the eye of the beholder, but it does have a very special role to play in our every day life. We should also never forget the true value of the healing hand of laughter.
Laughter is Uniquely Human
Laughter is a uniquely human and universal experience. Yet, laughter is primal and highly unappreciated. Researchers have revealed that babies develop the basic muscle mechanisms for smiling, long before they are born. This suggests that laughing and smiling is inherent to human nature.
French Renaissance writer, Francoise Rabelais said, “It is better to write of laugher than of tears, for laughter is the property of man.” Many now believe that smiling is pre-programmed in humans and a social signal of emotion. How much time do you take to get a baby to give you a smile and how delighted when you get a response?
Laughter is the Best Medicine
So much has been written about the health benefits of laughter, so we will only say a little about that here. Pablo Neruda said ‘“Laugher is the language of the soul.”
In the 1300s, Henri de Mondeville, a professor of surgery and a visionary, advised telling patients jokes following an operation. It has been proven that laughter increases the oxygen intake and stimulates, heart, lungs and muscles. Laughter is definitely medicine for the soul and improves your health.
Laughter strengthens your immune system, decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. This improves your resistance to disease, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. The value of laughter is that it is one of the best deterrents to entertaining the
Not only does laughter generate the feeling of well-being, it helps protect against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. It boosts mood, and releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use and may help you live longer. It is also said to burn up those unwanted calories. Laughter protects the heart, as it improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow.
It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. They say the shortest distance between two people, is a laugh.
Regains a Balance
Laughter helps bring your mind, as well as your body, back into balance. Illogical reactions may help people regulate their emotions and laughter is often illogical. I have been in situations where genuine laughter helped someone see a situation in a different light. That does not mean we make light of other people’s situations, but sometimes they need to be lifted out of it.
Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. There are times when genuine laughter saves a situation from disaster. Remember, there are always different ways to look at any situation.
The value of laughter is it helps release anger and lets you forgive sooner, rather than later. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. This does not include mockery, which is never acceptable.
Seeing the funny side can throw a better perspective on a situation and enable you to move on from confrontations. Hopefully, this will leave no bitterness or resentment by either party.
Sigmund Freud identified the power of laughter, even if it is ‘gallows humour’, as being a powerful tool in times of stress or crisis. Laughter is indeed good for the soul and you definitely feel better after a good laugh.
Laugh at Yourself
Don’t let laughter be seldom found in your life, for it is too short to take ourselves too seriously, and it’s healthy to learn to laugh at yourself. There is so much doom and gloom in our world, that to find something to laugh about is a relief. I personally love a good book, or story that can make me laugh or cry. Both crying and laughing have similar psychological reactions where we find ourselves in a high state of emotional arousal. Many people laugh through their tears.
People may laugh when they’re nervous in an effort to moderate their nervous feelings or trying to overcome some other deep emotion that threatens to overwhelm them. Laughter, or crying, may be a signal they have had enough of a certain stimulus and want it to stop as an aid to their emotional self-regulation.
As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. When did life become so solemn? By seeking out more opportunities for humour and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness, and even add years to your life.
Learn to Laugh Easily
The real value of laughter is that it is a priceless gift. One study showed that within four-tenths of a second of exposure to something potentially funny, an electrical wave moves through the cerebral cortex, the largest part of the brain, creating an instant reaction.
I am so thankful that I have inherited the sense of humour from my grandmother. Something would ‘tickle her fancy’ and she would go into gales of laughter. Within minutes we would join her, even though we didn’t have a clue what she was laughing about, proving that laughter is infectious.
Mary Pettibone Poole said, “The one who laughs is the one who lasts”. With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems and supporting both physical and emotional health.
There are even ‘Laughter Clubs’ as part of promoting a healthy lifestyle. They say that laughing for 15 minutes is equal to the benefits of two hours of sleep. I haven’t quite managed to test this theory yet.
Laughers are Smarter
Perhaps laughers are smarter than those who don’t care to laugh, always wearing a solemn face? It does take a quick wit to be truly humorous. In private, Queen Elizabeth II was said to have a quick wit and wicked sense of humour as was seen during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and sketch with Huntington Bear.
A 2007 study, in multiple countries. 200,000 people were asked to rank their preferred qualities in a partner. Women ranked humour first. However. men found the pretty, unfunny women were more desirable than equally pretty ones who also happened to be funny. Men don’t want a partner who is smarter than they are. What a sad indictment on manhood. Perhaps there is something in the ‘dumb blonde theory’? Sorry, if we don’t fit that category.
The True Value of Laughter is Kindness
When you laugh with others it is kind laughter. Cruel, or derisive laughter is when you laugh at others. Healthy laughter beings you into a place of empathy with others, no matter their situation. Nothing can get results as quickly as empathetic laughter.
“Humour signals an ability to put yourself in someone else’s mind and understand what someone else will find funny,” David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist, explained. “It requires social intelligence, and it takes social verve or confidence.”
Don’t allow your life to become so hectic there is no place for the healing hand of laughter. However, it must be noted that there have been deaths caused from laughter, but at the end of the day, life would be tedious without laughter. Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Check out other posts at Whispering Encouragement. We are here to inform and encourage. Talk to us. Tell us of any person, business, or incident you would like to see highlighted. Subscribe for free, so you can keep up to date with topics that interest you.