Saturday, November 06, 2010

Laughter

It's like the best drug on earth! I am grateful for laughter. Just looking at the word is enough to make me laugh. The English language is full of strangely spelled words and laugh is just as funny as any of them.

But, I am serious as a lobotomy. I am so very grateful for laughter. I don't mean loud, innappropriate laughter. I do mean good, wholesome humor.

What can laughter do?:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
  • Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
  • Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
  • Improve alertness, creativity, and memory
Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, an electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.

Laughter just makes me feel better. I remember a long time ago, Steve Martin did a skit about a banjo. "The banjo is such a happy instrument--you can't play a sad song on the banjo - it always comes out so cheerful," he said. Laughter is something like the banjo except everyone is born with the ability to play it. You don't need to learn how to read music or where to place your fingers. Also, you don't need to develop callouses to laugh well. I think adults sometimes forget how to laugh.

Even the worst day of my life so far was made just a little more bearable because we could laugh maybe just a little. Tense situations become lighter and easier to bear with laughter.

I am grateful for laughter. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my wife because inevitably we'll end up laughing about something. I think she sometimes pretends my jokes are funny. We laugh together, though. For that I am grateful.

I am grateful for laughter. I am grateful for the times I've spent laughing with my daughters. You should have seen us tonight. I think their mother was ready to strangle us all. I love to laugh, though. Sometimes, we laugh when we don't know why we're laughing. That's fun too.

I am grateful for laughter. I am grateful for the times I've spent laughing with my friends. Isn't that why friends spend time together. We talk, we laugh. We bag on each other, we laugh. Laughter is an important part of friendship.

Laughter is great.
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