Humor does not diminish the pain – it makes the space around it get bigger.
I’ve always been a jokester. As I’ve written my boyhood best friend (bbf) and I were always cut ups and “the biggest fans of one another’s comedic skills.” Comedy was our forte’! (So we thought.) I like to laugh. I pity anyone who doesn’t. Hard to believe there are people around who don’t much care for laughter… having a good time… a sense of humor. So it seems anyway.
There’s real power in humor and laughter. They entertain us and make us feel good. Laughter they say is the best medicine. Laughter heals, alleviates pain, relieves stress and anxiety. Researchers say humor is anti-aging and helps us live longer… and there’s more.
However, those powers of humor and laughter for many of us are slipping away. Maybe it comes with age, we become way too serious. Children tend to laugh a lot more than adults. You’ve probably noticed.
The International Congress on Humor (who knew?) found that laughter is down as much as 82% from the 1950′s. In those days people laughed on average 18 minutes a day. Today, it’s between 4-6 minutes a day. I guess laughter isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
Research has found uncontrollable laughter always happens when interacting with others. As a matter of fact, a recent study found that people laugh 6 times more when with one person and 30 more times in a group. While you can get a chuckle from jokes you read on the Internet, it’s not the same as the hearty laughter you enjoy when you’re around others.
Electronic media such as, television, computers, Internet, video and CD’s give us instant self-entertainment at the press of a button. Who needs people? In the past folks went outside their homes to find entertainment. Socializing with friends and relatives was looked forward to… it was fun. No longer is it true. As a matter of fact, most people, especially couples who both hold jobs, can hardly find the time, nor do they have much inclination to socialize outside the home.
Kids’ laughter is spontaneous, contagious and happens without encouragement or stimulants. We were born to laugh. Babies start laughing when they’re 10-12 weeks old. By the time they’re 4 years old, kids laugh on average 400 times a day.
It’s unfortunate but, adults stifle their kids’ natural inclination to laugh. You might recognize the scolding words we’ve heard from some parents:
- Wipe that stupid grin off your face!
- Act your age!
- Keep laughing and I’ll give you something to cry about.
Parents can be no fun… Is it any wonder some lose their ability and tendency to laugh?
Dr. Madan Kataria, a Mumbai physician who founded “Laughter Yoga” said, “We are treating children as adults much too early. We are taking away their play time and robbing them of laughter. They are not developing the social skills they need to deal with social problems and stress. I am not surprised that violence is spreading in schools … around the world.
“For thousands of years children have laughed and played their way to adulthood. During laughter and play they learn social skills to deal with social problems and stress and to resolve differences in socially acceptable ways. Laughter has the power to unwind stress and provide you with the power to strengthen the mind, raise the spirit and mitigate tension” says Dr. Kataria. “It’s no joke that laughter is nature’s creative way to keep us healthy and safe.”
So go ahead laugh it up. Get together with friends. Have a good time. make it a point to laugh, it isn’t hard. Allow… even encourage humor into your lives. Is it really too much to ask?
You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh. ~~ Jay Leno
Adapted from the following sources: