Archive for the ‘Laughter is Healthy’ Category
Life is like a theater auditorium your perspective of it is where you sit.
Life can be joyful if you want it to be.
Life can be full of laughts if your willing to be open to it.
Life can be better if you want it to be.
Life is good if your willing to focus on it.
Life is a laugh and that’s all you have to do is start with a giggle.
Life is friendship with yourself.
Life is knowing that we all mess up and thats ok.
Life is full of different opinions and the only one that matters is yours.
Congratulations and thanks for explaining research methods and research findings on humor/laughter benefits so nicely. People go on discussing these topics for ever and each one of us has to decide what, how to practice humor/laughter. My view is very simple that
“I laugh for myself and my own health first. If others can benefits then it is great.”
Thank God that I have met and connect through laughter with so manynice people in USA , Canada and India. I feel great and fortunate when I laugh daily and laugh with people, that is what matters to me. I really don’t care for any research results or findings but I do read most of the research published. ( Refer Health “The Power of a Giggle in Reader’s Digest July 2009 page 66 by Dr. Lee Berk)
Please don’t wait for research to start humor/laughter, just laugh and enjoy your life.
First fill up your own bucket with lots of laughter then you can share with others.
By the way I don’t do any humor because it is difficult for me to remember and deliver jokes. Welcome any more ideas from you about research findings about humor/laughter.
Please continue your jouney of humor/laughter and wish you all the success with LOVE, LAUGH to enjoy LIFE NOW,
More Comments about humor and Andy Rooney….
Gail: Excellent assessment of humor. This really puts everything into perspective! I’m making a copy of this. Thank you! However, one thought still lingers…. Since it appears being a “ham” doesn’t “cure” disease, what is a cured ham? hmmm….Regarding political humor, I respectfully disagree. Unless generic, we have extremely sensitive issues today that have divided the country. If liberal Jon Stewart was voted most trusted, then that indeed explains our current state of affairs. The country is falling apart so quickly it isn’t FUNNY. Since the Bush era, feelings have, for many, become visceral and are now at epidemic proportions of anger, frustration, etc., especially to those who see what is going on. I loved the one AATH conference I attended, until a liberal comedian / gifted songwriter got on stage and belittled Bush. It dampened the experience for me. Unfortunately, because of my work, etc., I haven’t been back at a conference, but that memory still lingers. Call me narrow-minded? You bet! Call me more concerned about helping save capitalism and quality medicine than being popular? You got it! Regardless, I also appreciate the wit, purpose, and incredible hard work done by those who keep AATH going! A great week to all and again, thank you Gail for this thought-provoking information. -Marian
Ok everyone. I am undoubtedly going to get some opposition to this e-mail, but as a good researcher, I feel the need to send it regardless. Research has never and will never PROVE anything. Research will only ever support or fail to support a hypothesis, theory or claim. That is why we must qualify our findings with statements such as “appears to suggest…” “may contribute to…” or “could lead to…”. For example, we say things such as “drinking while pregnant COULD cause birth defects in the fetus”. We cannot say that it definately does because in order to prove that we would have to examine every single child who was ever born to a woman who drank while she was pregnant and every single one of those children would have to show definitive signs of birth defects. The astronomical cost of such an undertaking aside, if we found even ONE child who suffered absolutely NO birth defects what-so-ever, we could not make the claim. BTW, there are indeed people whose mothers’ drank while pregnant with them and they have not suffered any defects. Now for a message from the American Cancer Society:
Humor therapy is the use of humor for the relief of pain and stress. It is used as a complimentary method to promote health and cope with illness.
Although available scientific evidence DOES NOT support claims that laughter can CURE cancer or any other disease, it CAN reduce stress and enhance a person’s quality of life. Humor has physical effects because it can stimulate the circulatory system, immune system and other systems in the body.
Available scientific eveidence DOES NOT support humor as an effect TREATMENT for cancer or any other disease; however, laughter has many benefits, including positive physical changes and an overall sense of well-being. One study found the use of humor led to an increase in pain tolerance. It is thought that laughter causes the release of special neurotransmitter substances in the brain called endorphines that help control pain. Another study found that neuroendocrine and stress-related hormones decreased during episodes of laughter. These findings provide support for the claim that humor CAN RELIEVE stress. More studies are needed to clarify the impact of laughter on health” www.cancer.org
We need to remember that Norman Cousins, to whom we all refer when we make our positive humor presentations I am sure, used a combination of humor AND vitamin therapy — so the evidence is inconclusive that one of these treatment methods worked over the other. Vitamin therapists could say that it wasn’t the humor at all but the vitamins, much the same as we would like to credit the humor for his recovery. They may have worked in concert with one another in order to help his body heal itself. Or perhaps, like the 4% of people who survive pancreatic cancer, he was just lucky or maybe had a genetic predisposition to going into remission from that particular illness. We will never know for certain.
So, was Andy Rooney correct when he implied that humor does not cure anything? It would appear so. But then again, nothing actually cures anything. Sometimes illnesses run their courses and people recover on their own without any medical intervention. Tylenol doesn’t cure a headache — your headache is still there, you just can’t feel it because the pain is numbed. Antibiotics don’t cure your infection — they simply kill the bacteria that is the source of your infection. After the bacteria is gone, the infection clears on its own. A cast doesn’t cure a broken bone — it simple immobilizes the limb so that the body can actually repair itself. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
So — I hope that this gives us all a little perspective. Humor is a wonderful tool and a fantastic treatment modality when used properly. I look forward to reading more and more studies on the therapeutic use of it in the future. As for political humor — BRING IT ON!!!!!! I love political humor — and we as a country must as well, otherwise Jon Stewart wouldn’t have been voted most trusted newsman in a recent survey!!! Of course we all must remember that there are 3 kinds of lies — lies, damn lies and statistics! LOL
We are funny people, all of us
I laugh at us a lot.
But most of all I laugh at those
Who think that they are not!
Gail Poverman-Kave, LCSW
One more comment…
Ok, here’s the deal. I am a hospital chaplain. I am very big on healing, and I am glad to use prayer, silence, food, or Marx Brothers clips to promote healing. However, when I use the word “cure” I am not refering to health and happiness, I am referring to a disease being eradicated and reversed (cured) due to humor/laughter. No research has yet proven it. If you know of any such studies, let me know. This by no means devalues the essential need for laughter through all the turning points of life. But I also do not want AATh to make grandiose claims about what laughter/humor provides.
I am arguing semantics here, I know. Yet, in my field it is important to use words correctly when it comes to such matters of life, death, and laughter. Call me anal.
What do you think about humor, health, laughter do you think it is good for you and your health?
Do you think it cures or helps in the healing process?
I second how rewarding this day was, I also used a vacation day from work and I have to say it was well worth it. The children, camp buddies and the entire volunteer staff were wonderful.
On Wednesday, July 22nd, myself, Dot Hardy, Donna Onifer and Julie Gola spent the day working the carnival at Vision Hope’s Challengers for Life camp. As I am sure you all remember, this is a camp for foster children. Some of our previous fundraisers helped to sponsor several of these children and the grant Dot got from her employer helped to fund the birthday party that was given for all of the children.
I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful day this was for the 4 of us! We arrived at the camp at around 10:30am. We were asked to watch a training video that would help us understand the trauma that some of these children have been through in their short lives. It was heartbreaking.
We were then taken on a tour of the camp. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures. We were also taken on a tour of the “Sunshine Store”. This is a store that is set up by Vision Hope with all kinds of new and used clothing as well as some accessories. Each child is allowed to go in to the store and choose whatever they would like. A shoe store from Clinton Township was also coming on Thursday to fit each child with a new pair of shoes.
After the children ate lunch, the four of us worked the various carnival games that had been set up. These children were so sweet, so polite and so thankful to have the opportunity to be at the camp and to be a part of this day. It was so sad to see their sweet faces and know that they have endured so much pain already in their short lives. During these games, EVERYONE won a prize. In spite of some bad weather, we worked the carnival until about 5pm.
We left there wet and tired but so happy talking about the day. We will talk about it more at the meeting in August. I know the four of us plan on attending this camp again next year and we would LOVE to have any of you that are available to join us. It was one of the best “work vacation days” that I have ever taken.
Have a wonderful weekend!
There were a bunch of boys with their dads on the dock who had been fishing for hours and didn’t even have one nibble from a fish. We were there about fifteen minutes when my daughter pulled in a large mouth bass.
She has caught Perch and Blue Gill in the past but never a large mouth bass. When it hooked on the line it surfaced and tried to get loose. I quickly grabbed the net and lifted it out of the water. All the boys and their dads were congratulating her and a little envious at the same time.
I grabbed the fish out of the net, held it in my hand and used my ventriloquist skills to make the fish talk. My daughter was laughing; the parents were laughing but the boys were a little spooked.
See it is so easy to have a laugh and have some fun.
Here are some some fun ways to add some daily humor in your workplace…
“The Success Bell!” When someone in the office helps a client or makes a new sale they ring a bell and everyone cheers and laughs.
2) “Funny Name Day!” Everyone gets to think up a funny name for themselves and puts it on a name tag and all through the day they are called that name. (Example: Bart Simpson, Daffy Duck, Kermit The Frog…_)
3) “Red Nose Lunch Day!” This can be a day or a week when the employees wear a red nose during lunch and are instructed to find a joke on the internet and share it during lunch for some fun laughs. (I can give links to where the can buy the red noses for very little money.)
4) “Time to Laugh!” There can be a bell or a laugh bag and when it is heard everyone stops what they are doing, stands and lets out a loud laugh for a couple seconds and then goes back to work.
5) “Wear Something Funny Day!” This is where the sky could be the limit. They can set up theme days like clown day or cartoon character day where they could wear something to represent the funny theme.
6) “Celebrate a silly holiday!” This could be a holiday like Ground Hog Day, for example. Everyone asked to bring in a Ground Hog dish, tell Ground Hog jokes and sing Ground Hog Songs. (Everyday is a silly holiday I will have a link up on my site with ideas)
If you have more ideas feel free to share them with us….
Copyright Richard Paul 2009
Dr. Deepok Chopra has said that “we think 65,000 thoughts in the course of a day.” A majority of those thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday and we will carry them along with us tomorrow and the next day and the next day. My friend Melody Haines, of Mind over Matters wrote “Our minds get on a treadmill of letting our thoughts think us, so to speak, it happens in the background, unconsciously.” The point is, unconsciously we are reliving the same fears, worries, angers and problems over and over again. A perpetual stream of uneasiness and stress that weakens our immune system, raises our blood pressure, messes up our arteries and causes illness and disease.
In his book Stress Less Dr. Don Colbert MD, talks about a psychiatry professor who was a former dermatologist that shared about the many patients he treated for psoriasis. He told him “that treating so many people with skin disorder led him to the conclusion that people were actually weeping through their skin.” If our mind is continually replaying the same negative story over and over we will always be tense and feeling sick. Unless we make a choice to break the cycle by changing our thoughts we will become part of the 75 to 95 percent that the American Institute of Stress says visit there primary care physician’s office for stress related disorders.
The secrets to reducing our stress:
1) You have to want to change
2) Be committed to change
3) Believe that changing your thoughts will change your life
Wanting to change:
If you want to change you have to consciously think it and say it. It is all about making up your mind that today is the day I will focus on my blessings rather than the so called misfortunes.
Robert Frost put it brilliantly, “I make my bed and make up my mind it is going to be a great day.”
I read about a woman who lost her house and everything she owned in a tornado and while all of her neighbors were complaining she was singing praise that her husband and children were alive. It’s your choice; to sing the blues or be grateful that you are alive.
Be committed to change:
You have to be committed to do what ever you can do to break the negative thinking cycle. One of the easiest ways to take a detour from stress promoting thinking is with a smile. Research has found that smiling is a great way to quickly change attitude and relax us. Mark Shibich PhD writes “smiling can work to counteract the effects of stress.” Scientific American Minds Magazine in its May 2009 issue talks about a studies where patients who smiled actually showed more pain tolerances than others that were frowning. By committing to smiling in the morning and throughout the day you will as Shibich writes “ trick: your body into believing that everything is good.” This will eventually create a new thought learning curve that can help reduce negative thinking and promote a more positive thinking process. My friend Susan Stewart from Live Well Laugh Lots says, “When we are experiencing joy even for a few moments through laughter, our minds are completely focused on the present moment rather than regurgitating the past or predicting the future. Smiling promotes laughter and laughter is what Milton Berle called “the instant vacation” or as Steve Ayan writes, create a cognitive distance between yourself and the circumstances in a way that can be psychologically protective.”
Lastly is that you need to believe that changing your thoughts will change your life….
I am living proof of someone who wanted to change his thoughts and changed his life; someone whose mind was filled with pessimistic thinking and failure driven thoughts. When my wife almost left me along with our first born, I had to make a choice-continue to ruin our lives both physically and emotionally or make a commitment to change.
Was it easy? No! Do I sometimes drift back? Yes! But everyday in good times and bad I still want to be better. I am still committed to smiling, laughing and healthier happier thinking.
Change your thoughts, change your attitude and you will change your life.
Don’t wait start today!
Copyright Richard Paul 2009
We have been taught that the best ways to reduces stress is to exercise, meditate, eat right or add things like Yoga to our daily routine. But, if we take along our problems into these practices, we are defeating the purpose. I have a good friend who watches what he eats, exercises religiously everyday and his blood pressure is still going through the roof. Why? Because he mixes his salads with worry and brings his fears and doubt with him on the tread mill. I am not suggesting you give up good eating and exercise habits. What I am suggesting is that you think about adding laughter as part of your daily health and wellness mix. Laughter has been clinically proven to quickly reduce cortisol while at the same time releasing endorphins, which are in the same chemical family as opiates heroin and morphine, natural painkillers. Laughter also will boost our immune system and help us to relax and think clearer. So if you want to relax, lower your blood pressure, and have a healthier immune system I suggest you add laughter to your daily routine.
Here is a little exercise you can implement daily before you begin your morning workout or if you find yourself in a stressful situation.
1) Sit up straight in your chair and start with a simple Ha Ha Ha, then add a He He He and finally a Ho HoHo Now mix them together Ha Ha Ha, He He He, Ho Ho Ho.
2) Take both of your hands and put them on your belly and shake your body up and down as you Ha Ha Ha, He He He, Ho Ho Ho.
3) Now stand up putting your hands on your belly, shaking up and down and rocking back and forth going Ha Ha Ha, He He He, Ho Ho Ho.
Right now you may be thinking this is silly but it is the silliness that will promote the laughter which reduces the cortisol, increase the endorphins, boost the immune system and add several years to your life
So don’t wait now is the time to HA HA HA, HE HE HE, HO HO HO.
Copyright Richard Paul 2009
“Laughter is as tranquilizer with no side effects.” Arnold Glasow
Laughter is one of the body’s safety mechanisms. It helps us to counter balance our stress and tension. When we are stressed our body quickly increases a hormone called cortisol. Is cortisol bad for us? Doctors say that is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands. It helps with the several functions in the body.
1) Proper glucose metabolism
2) Regulation of blood pressure
3) Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
4) Immune function
5) Inflammatory response
They say it is normally high in the morning and very low at night. But when we are stressed it changes the natural daily balance. Stress causes our body to goes into the fight or flight mode causing a quick serge or prolonged higher cortisol level. When this happens it can impair our cognitive performance, suppress our thyroid function, cause a blood sugar imbalance, decrease bone density, decrease muscle tissue, increase blood pressure, lower the immune system and can increase abdominal fat which can cause heart attack and stroke.
Laughter is one of the quickest ways to reduce stress. A good laugh adds a burst of oxygen that instantly helps relax the mind and decrease the cortisol to near normal levels. Studies have shown that laughter helps improve memory, lower blood pressure, balance blood sugar and increase the immune system. When you find yourself stressed out or feeling over whelmed that is the time you need to laugh.
I heard a story about a young model that was shot on a subway in New York near Time Square. She said at the hospital she was so frightened and panicked that it was her sense of humor and her ability to laugh that helped her cope with an extremely stressful situation. She also added that during recovery she spent most of her days watching the old TV sitcom “Friends.” She said the humor helped her work through the stress giving her energy to make it through the day. She also believed the chuckles helped with her healing process too.
If your world seems like its upside down that is the time to escape with a good laugh.
It will not only lower the cortisol but ignite the healing power and energy within to make it through the storm. Remember what they say laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and even your cat will say, “hey I don’t need this!” Then she will leave you and look for a new owner who likes to laugh.
Copyright Richard Paul 2009