[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. — Mark Twain
How often do see…use…the acronym, lol, when conversing on FB, Twitter, e-mail, blogs, etc? It essentially means that whatever it is being discussed that person is “laughing out loud” about it. But, are they really laughing out loud? I use it frequently, and I have to admit that however clever it looks I am not really laughing out loud. Sure, I have sometimes, when a comment really strikes me as hilarious and worthy of a good guttural guffaw; but, those are far and few between.
I can’t recall the last time I had a really, really good laugh. You know the kind where you can hardly catch your breath, and the tears roll down your cheeks. I so enjoy a laugh like that. There is an acronym for that too, LMAO. I am embarrassed to tell you how long it took for me to figure that one out! However, it is one of those gut-grabbers that can purge the soul of any doldrums and anxt it may be harboring. I need that right now, so I am on the hunt to dig out my oh-so-missing laugh and let loose with a rollonthefloorgrabbingmygutaldarnnearpeemypantslaugh!!!!! Oh, and there’s an acronym for that: ROTFLMAO. Acro-Evolution.
At any rate, I realized I have “lost” my laugh, and I miss it. And truth be known, I am…was…infamous for having a great laugh. One that couldn’t be missed in a crowd, and it made others laugh along with me. And I would laugh a lot. What the hell happened?
I recall reading an article some time ago about the benefits of laughter, and how it helps heal the body of a wide range of maladies. We’ve all heard that old saying: “Laughter is the best medicine,” and scientific studies have proven that notion is not too far off the mark. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks now, so it’s one of the reasons this subject has come to the forefront of my beleaguered brain cells. Therefore, I did a bit of research and I came across a commendable site penned by Elizabeth Scott, M.S. that discussed laughter benefits, and felt it would be worthwhile to share. It is a very good reminder to laugh more as the perks are numerous.
Stress Management Benefits of Laughter:
- Hormones: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol,epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.
- Physical Release: Have you ever felt like you “have to laugh or I’ll cry”? Have you experienced the cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.
- Internal Workout: A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.
- Distraction: Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.
- Perspective: Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a ‘threat’ or a ‘challenge’. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as ‘challenges’, thereby making them less threatening and more positive.
- Social Benefits of Laughter: Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!
Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron
I was even more surprised to learn there are Laughter Yoga
“Laughter and breathing of laughter yoga brings you totally in the present moment, as you can’t laugh and breathe in the past or future.” Dr. Madan Ka
And what would an informative, self-pondering post be without a few more wonderful quotes to drive the point home.
A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around. – Carolyn Birmingham
An optimist laughs to forget; a pessimist forgets to laugh. — Tom Nansbury
With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die. — Abraham Lincoln
As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul. – A Jewish Proverb
I was irrevocably betrothed to laughter, the sound of which has always seemed to me to be the most civilized music in the world. — Peter Ustinov
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. — Victor Hugo
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. — E E Cummings
“I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing” – Dr. Madan Katari
The old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh was money in a man’s pocket, because it cut down the doctor’s bills like everything. — “Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain
The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed. — Bennett Cerf
Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer. — Reinhold Niebuhr
So, if you will excuse me, I am off on a mission to “recover” my giggles, and LOL in the face of my ill-conceived woes and ailing body. Cheers. :-)
One last item to leave with you. A song. Classic.