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Humor And Laughter: Benefits Of And How To Get It In Your Life

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Benefits of Humor and Laughter

Humor/laughter has both physical and emotional benefits.  Studies indicate that laughter can do each of the following.

  • Relieve the blues or depression
  • Decrease anxiety, fear and stress
  • Increase production of endorphins which reduce the feeling of pain.
  • Raise the level of infection fighting antibodies
  • Improve overall energy
  • Increase heart rate and blood flow
  • Enhance sleep
  • Burn calories
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Help boost the immune system

Laughter is also a mild aerobic exercise for the stomach and face muscles.

Studies using Magnetic Resonance Imaging  (MRI ) machines indicate that even faked laughter has health benefits.

Norman Cousins is sure that laughter cured him of his illness. He wrote about it in his book: Anatomy of An Illness (If you are interested, inexpensive used copies are available online from sellers such as Barnes and Noble offsite link.)

A smile

We all know that happiness can cause a smile. What is less well known is that a smile can create feelings of happiness.

  • As the psychologist William James wrote in 1892: "Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, to look around cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there."
  • Modern experiments have charted the biochemistry 
How To Get Humor In Your Life

If humor is missing from your life, there are many easy-to-access ways you can bring it in. Following is a list to help you get started:

  • Check your local television listing for comedies that appeal to you. Consider getting access to the Comedy Channel if you do not have it.
  • View your favorite humorous movie or television series on DVD or download from sites such as Netflix offsite link.
    • "I Love Lucy" has been used frequently by people looking for humor. Dr. Norman Cousins screened I Love Lucy to help himself heal.
    • The American Film Institute lists its take on the top 100 funniest films at: www.afi.com offsite link. Type "Funniest films" into the search box.
    • Lou Sabini, a film historian, suggests the following "screwball comedies" from the 1930s: Bombshell, It Happened One Night, The Thin Man, Libeled Lady, Topper, My Man Godfrey, Midnight.
  • Watch YouTube videos.
  • Watch laughter apps on your smart phone for free.
  • Hang out with a funny friend.
  • Go to a comedy club.
  • Look for humor in the situation. It may be hard to find - but it is usually there. If you watch comics on t.v. or in a club, you will see that they often take everyday situations and find the humor. 
  • Listen to comedy CDs in the car or comedy recordings on your phone or other mobile device..
  • Read joke or cartoon books or look for jokes and cartoons on the internet. If you don't own a computer, use one at your local library. Or ask a friend to print some for you.
    • Search on "Jokes" or "Funny Cartoons" until you find a site or sites that hit your funny bone. 
    • Consider sites such as www.HumorProject.com offsite link which includes humor resources.
  • Watch young children or young pets - particularly for the funny things they do.

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