Laughter Essay, Research Paper
Laughter is an emotion that has been vastly
underestimated by our society. Laughter is ultimately
an expression of emotion – joy, surprise, nervousness,
amusement. Laughter is the sun that drives winter from
the human face. Laughter is a healthy means of
releasing pent-up feelings. Laughter is such an intristic
part of our lives that we sometimes forget how very odd
Plato?s Superiority Theory suggests that we laugh
because a particular person has a defect or is at a
disadvantage (Blistein 563). Anecdotal evidence has
long suggested that people ?feel better? after a hearty
laugh. Laughter can also promote coughing, which, in
turn, helps rid the trachea and bronchi of phlegm and
Laughter is a natural, physical process which
releases pain, physically and emotionally. Laughter
springs from our emotional core. Laughter helps
release and transform our emotional pain. One cannot
laugh and be afraid simultaneously, it?s physically
impossible. While laughing you cannot think of anything
else. Either you think or you laugh, but not both.
Laughter reduces aggression and conflict. Laughter
relieves anxiety. Laughter also shrinks the source and
size of our fears. Laughter has benefited many people
to sleep better and reduce depression (Junkins 2).
People with suicidal tendencies have started living with
more hope (Junkins 2). Laughter helps us feel better
(Junkins 1). After you laugh, you go into a relaxed state
(Doskoch 33). Laughter helps us creatively weigh and
use our options. Laughter gives us back our
playfulness, a characteristic of all mankind (Junkins 1).
Playing with painful things is a major source for our
laughter (Junkins 2).
Mother Nature did not provide us with laughter
just for grins. She gave us laughter to heal our bodies
and our emotions so we can cope with life as we
experience it. Laughter can be an excellent source of
cardiac exercise, it causes the heart rate to rise for up
to five minutes (McGhee 52). When a patient who is at
risk for pulmonary infection laughs, it helps clear his
lungs of residual air, which contains high levels of
carbon dioxide and water vapor. Other studies have
found that humor and laughter boost humoral and
cellular immunity by increasing levels of other key
components of the immune system. People who have
suffered strokes in the primitive brain region have been
known to have prolonged bouts of pathological laughter
(McGhee 52). When a person laughs the brain produces
endorphins one of the body?s natural pain killers
(McGhee 51). Laughter increases production of
immunity-boosting gamma interferon and speeds up the
production of new immune cells (Doskoch 33). Laughter
may help some people more than others (Doskoch 34).
Humor and laughter strengthens the body?s
resistance to infections, offers pain relief and serves as
a medium to release tension, frustration, and anger
(McGhee 50). A long hard laugh is like internal jogging.
Laughter, mind you, is not the same thing as humor.
Humor is only one trigger for laughter, although a really
good one (Junkins 2). Other triggers for laughter might
be tense or boring situations, absurd things happening
at serious moments, embarrassment, or the
uncomplicated, unsophisticated truth (Junkins 2).
The use of laughter as a method of stress
reduction and healing became popular in the 1980?s
after the publication of Anatomy of an Illness written by
Norman Cousins in 1979. Suffering from a painful
life-threatening disease, Cousins believed that laughter
was a significant feature of his treatment and recovery.
By laughing it helps to remind us that those things in life
that do not kill us can make us stronger.
Laughter allows us to bond with other people and
ease our loneliness. Laughter creates bonds between
management and employees, and employees feel more
connected to one another (Junkins 1). If we can allow
laughter at work, we will feel less overwhelmed and
better able to do our jobs (Junkins 1). Laughter allows
us to be creative and to work harder but more
comfortable. Laughter happens when people are
comfortable with one another. Laughter is out of
control (Junkins 1). If you seek out companions who
laugh a lot, you will laugh a lot more. Laughter is
contagious, laughter creates laughter. People are thirty
times likely to laugh around other people than when
they are alone (Junkins 1).
Another way laughter can help a patient reduce his
stress is by giving him a sense of control. Laughter is
more of a supplementary and preventive therapy
(Junkins 1). Laughter can provide immediate relief from
life?s daily pressures. A good laugh helps the body
relax. During exuberant laughter, there is a change in
many parts of the body even the arm, legend trunk
muscles. When you laugh, the skeletal muscles in your
arms and legs relax. One study found that stress
hormones were reduced after participants watched a
videotape of a one-hour comedy routine. A person can
change a negative flame of mind into a positive one
through humor and laughter.
Laughter is not only as good a method of stress
relief as a massage, a hot bath or exercise, it is
essential to stress relief. The ability to get a laugh out
of everyday situations is a safety valve that will rid you
of tensions that might otherwise continue to build and
damage your health. Laughter through tears, has been
called the perfect emotion (Junkins 1). One theory
proposes that laughing triggers a sequence of actions in
which muscle tension first increases, than decreases -
which, explains why you can end up ?weak? with
laughter (McGhee 52).
Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of
evolution, mused that tickling and humor must be
related because both make people laugh. Studies show
that laughter during tickling is a reflex, not a response
to a feeling that tickling is funny (Marcus 67). We laugh
when we really need it most if we let the body do what
comes naturally (Junkins 1). Human beings are born
with the gift of laughter. A sense of humor is not
necessary to laugh. The more you practice laughing,
the better your sense of humor becomes. Finding the
things that spark your sense of humor and enjoying
them often offers the reward of ongoing laughter. After
fifteen minutes of laughter in the morning, you will feel
fresh throughout the day (Junkins 1). Laughter will help
you feel pleasure and fun once again. Perhaps the most
obvious effect of laughter is on our mood (Doskoch 32).
A good laugh can help us to see life from a different
perspective and face our problems with a renewed
concentration and hope.
Laughter helps us see things more clearly.
Laughter also improves our mood through social means.
Laughter will clear your mind, lift your mood, and help
you cope (Junkins 3). Laughter is an expression of
mood that involves the entire cerebral cortex of the
brain and is closely related to mental and physical
health (Doskoch 32).
Most important is the experience of the wonderful
healing power which is unleashed when we laugh.
Laughter relieves anxiety. Thirty minutes a day of
?mirthful laughing? can help protect coronary patients
from repeat heart attacks (Junkins 1). Allowing
laughter to swell into a movement across the land
would reduce our growing anger and violence (Junkins
1). Everyone would be in less of a funk if they laughed
more. If your laughing, you are not as likely to find
yourself driving at ramming speeds and in a fit of road
rage (Junkins 3).
In closing, laughter is a very unique emotion that
is unfortunately undervalued and vastly underestimated
by today?s society. Laughter is an emotion that
provides many benefits such as stress relief, bonding
with others, exercise, etc. Laughter is a cheerful
emotion that people should think about more often.