Showing posts with label Humor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humor. Show all posts

Dec 7, 2018

More Proof of Laughter Benefits

Laughter has positive psychological, physiological, and immunological impacts on our health. In fact there is a term for the study of laughter and laughing and the examination of its effects on the human body: gelotology, from the Greek gelos, meaning 'laughter'.

In a study “Humor and Laughter May Influence Health” in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, authors report that a sense of humor influences psychological and physiological well-being.

- Laughter leads to increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption, similar to aerobic exercise. After intense laughter, body muscles relax.
- Like other strong emotions, humor seems to activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which shows an increase in such hormones as urinary epinephrine and norepinephrine, but blood pressure remains stable. (Sad emotional stimulus results in higher blood pressure.)
- Exposure to a humorous stimulus decreased self-reported anxiety.
- Laughter in response to humorous stimuli correlates with improvement of natural killer (NK) cell activity, the immune cells that kill cancerous cells and prevent some types of viral illnesses.
- Laughing also has social benefits. Since much laughter is a social response rather than a reaction to jokes, laughing facilitates social reaction.
- Laughter is also contagious. If you see someone laughing, you will probably laugh, too. Scientists found that we often mimic other’s behavior, copying words or gestures due to the mirroring system in the brain.

Jul 15, 2016

Medicine and Humor

The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine says, "A highly significant increase in survival was due to the psychological variables of block three [quality of life and sense of humor] (p < .001) essentially accounted for by sense of humor (p < .005). Those who scored above the median in sense of humor increased their odds for survival by on average 31%. Conclusions: Sense of humor appeared to mediate better coping and, therefore, protected against detrimental effects of disease-related stressors upon survival."

This finding is in line with the notions that stress weakens the immune system and humor can reduce stress.

Researchers are using the idea that stress reduces blood flow and laughter increases blood flow. A preliminary study by Michael Miller, M.D., and others (all from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore) used violent and comedic movie scenes with twenty patients. In 2005 Miller reported that "average blood flow increased twenty two percent during laughter, and decreased 35 percent during mental stress." He said we still need to exercise regularly, but 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis is probably good for the vascular system.

Bottom line, laughter can improve your health.

Mar 21, 2014

Eye Floaters

Eye floaters are little oddly shaped objects that appear in your vision, often when a person looks at bright light such as a blue sky. Their shapes vary greatly, but will often appear as spots, cobwebs, or randomly shaped stringy objects. These are not optical illusions, but rather something your eyes actually perceive. There are a few different things that can cause this, but in most cases these eye floaters are caused by pieces of the gel-like vitreous breaking off from the back portion of your eye and then floating about in your eyeball.

The vitreous humor, or often just “vitreous”, is a clear gel that fills the gap between your retina and lens, helping maintain the round shape of your eye in the process. This gel is about 99% water and 1% mostly consisting mostly of a network of hyaluronic acid and collagen. Hyaluronic acid ends up retaining water molecules. Over time though, this network breaks down which results in the hyaluronic acid releasing its trapped water molecules. When this happens, it forms a watery core in your vitreous body.

As you age, pieces of the still gel-like collagen/hyaluronic acid network will break off and float around in this watery center. When light passes through this area, it creates a shadow on your retina. This shadow is actually what you are seeing when you see the eye floaters.

Children and teenagers almost never experience these types of eye floaters as there must first be some deterioration of the gel-like substance in their eye for these floaters to appear. However, they do still sometimes experience a certain type of eye floater that often appears more like a crystallized web across their vision. These floaters aren't found in the vitreous humor like the other floaters. Instead, they are found in the Premacular Bursa area, right on top of the retina. These floaters are microscopic in size and only appear as big as they do because of their proximity to the retina.

Jan 10, 2014

Ten Different Types of Laughter

Laughter is a social structure, something that connects humans with one another in a profound way. People are about thirty percent more likely to laugh in a social setting that warrants it than when alone with humorous media. In other words, you are more likely to laugh with friends while watching a comedy together than when you are watching the same show by yourself. About 90 percent of our laughter is related to jokes or humor.

Belly Laughter - Belly laughter is considered the most honest type of laughter and it the type where the whole body shakes and you gasp for air. Men are more likely to grunt or snort at something they find funny, while women let loose with giggles and chuckles.

Canned Laughter - Canned laughter is another term for "laugh track." It is real laughter taken completely out of one context and placed in another, such as from a real studio audience to a filmed movie. Canned laughter over a soundtrack to programming increases the chance of an audience finding humor in the material.

Contagious Laughter - Imagine you are out for dinner with a group of friends and someone tells a joke and gets one person laughing, which gets a second person laughing, and so on. Contagious laughter raises the possibility that humans have laugh detectors. People are made to respond with laughter on hearing laughter itself, much like the mystery of spreading a yawn. If it spreads too far, it is called mass hysteria.

Cruel Laughter - Cruel laughter has been around for a long time. In the late Middle Ages, for instance, there's record of residents buying a condemned criminal from a different town just so they could enjoy quartering him themselves. Slapstick comedy often induces cruel laughter.

Etiquette Laughter - People rely on laughter to get along with others, so whether we are with a boss or friends, we tend to laugh at things they say or do, to be polite. Laughter could have developed in our ancestors before full speech, so the sound is merely a way to communicate and show agreement.

Nervous Laughter - During times of anxiety, we often laugh in a subconscious attempt to calm down. However, nervous laughter usually just heightens the awkwardness of the situation.

Pigeon Laughter - Pigeon laughter, which is often practiced in laughter therapy or laughter yoga, involves laughing without opening your mouth. By keeping your lips sealed, the laughter produces a humming sound, much like the noises a pigeon makes.

Silent Laughter - Silent laughter can have real benefits, because it involves the same type of deep breathing that comes with belly laughter. One woman who worked as a clown in a children's hospital explained that teaching sick children the art of silent laughter enabled them to go back to sleep after waking up from a bad dream. This type of laughter is also practiced in laughter yoga and laughter therapy, where it is often called joker's laughter.

Stress-relieving Laughter - Stress is an important reasons to find something humorous and laughter is a sure cure for stress. Stress builds tension in the human body, and that tension has to go somewhere. Stress-relieving laughter can take many forms, but it is usually found in an outburst, much like belly laughing.

Snorting Laughter - About twenty five percent of women and thirty three percent of men laugh through the nose. This is the kind where you might blow milk out your nose when surprised with a humorous situation. A person might either blow air out or suck it in through the nose when laughing. A well told joke often induces me to experience a few different types of laughter in one bout.

Jun 29, 2013

Nothing Festival

The annual Teluride, CO Nothing Festival is being held in mid-July. Here are the exciting activities for the locals in addition to eating and drinking too much.

Sunrises and sunsets as normal.
Gravity continues to be in effect.
The earth’s rotation will be increased to add a few thrills.
The laws of physics will be on display.
Duct Tape Seminar: How to defeat weapons of mass destruction for under $10.
How we use old Volkswagens.
Sense of humor search. Am sure a fun time will be had by all.

Oct 1, 2010


Gelotology is the study of humor and laughter, and its effects on the human body. It is also the psychological and physiological study of laughter. The word is from the Greek gelos, geloto meaning laugh, laughter.

A group of scientists at the University of California medical school say they have found the part of the brain that controls laughter. All of us are born with the physical and neurological apparatus for laughing, and we will do it without being taught how, starting at about 4 weeks of age.

Research has led to new and beneficial therapies practiced by doctors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals using humor and laughter to help patients cope or treat a variety of physical and psychological issues. There seems to be something to the old saying "laughter is the best medicine." As Voltaire said, "The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease."

-   Humor Therapy: It is also known as therapeutic humor. Using humorous materials such as books, shows, movies, or stories to encourage spontaneous discussion of the patients' own humorous experiences.

-    Laughter Therapy: Clients' laughter triggers are identified such as people in their lives, things from childhood, situations, movies, jokes, comedians, etc. that make them laugh.

-    Laughter Meditation: In laughter meditation there are some similarities to traditional meditation. However, it is the laughter that focuses the person to concentrate on the moment. Through a three stage process of stretching, laughing and/or crying, and a period of meditative silence.

-    Laughter Yoga and Laughter Clubs: Somewhat similar to traditional yoga, laughter yoga is an exercise which incorporates breathing, yoga, and stretching techniques, along with laughter. Maybe they should just read some of my books.

Oct 16, 2009

Benefits of Humor

Here is one from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In my never ending Quixotic quest to finding what is funny, I stumbled on this tidbit that suggests that watching comedy can increase your creativity, but it still does not answer 'what is funny'.

Researchers found that watching a comedy film has several benefits. First, that it makes you feel better and we all know that. Second, that it makes you more creative. Third, that it aids in problem solving.

Are you bored and wondering what to do next (after finishing this).  Well, view a comedy film, or maybe this quickie of Mr. Bean making faces.

The movie makes you laugh and it makes you feel better. Now, don't you feel more creative?

Experiment results from, Isen, Daubman, and Nowicki found that people who watched a comedy film were more likely to solve a problem requiring a creative solution than people who watched a neutral film. 

Another experiment involved a comedy film and the Remote Associates Test. The mean number of items correct on this test was higher for people who watched a comedy film than for people who did not watch a comedy film. The hypothesis was that positive emotion would foster creativity.

The bottom line is that if you are working on a problem at home or work that requires a creative solution, it may be good to first view some comedy. I know that I always feel better after watching Laurel and Hardy, but am not sure if it makes me feel more creative.