Sense of humor

15 February Laughing for the Mind, Body, and Heart: The Benefits of Sense of Humor An uncle cured his lung cancer with laughter, and it saved his married too. Laughter is the best medicine, as the saying goes, and scholars are backing it up with hard evidence. Laughter, however, should not be superficial, but connected with a sense of humor. Humor is the foundation for regular hearty laughter because it concerns a philosophy in life, where optimism meets the readiness to laugh at life’s funny moments. This paper explores why laughter is the best medicine. People should develop their sense of humor and laugh more because it is an inexpensive way of developing a strong body, mind, and heart. Laughter is a great way to manage illnesses and to stay in shape. Several sources discuss how humor improves the human body’s immunity. Carol Whipple and Susan Calvert, who both work for the UK Cooperative Extension Service, describe the physical benefits of exercise. They illustrate that laughter helps the muscles involved in it relax afterwards. Relaxation calms people enough to either feel less stressed or to feel less pain from their illnesses. R. Morgan Griffin writes for Web MD. com and his online article, “ Give Your Body a Boost- With Laughter” gives an example of laughter being used as the best medicine. He narrates that Norman Cousin, after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, used a “ diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, [to help] him feel better. [Cousin] said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep” (Griffin 1). In these cases, laughter acts like a natural relaxation and pain-relieving pill. Furthermore, laughter is similar to a mild workout because it increases blood flow. Griffin indicates that laughing is a form of physical activity, which is reinforced through making movements, such as waving arms (1). He mentions the work of Maciej Buchowski, a Vanderbilt University researcher, who performed a small study, where he calculated the amount of calories that people burn from laughing. Findings showed that ten to fifteen minutes of laughter “ burned 50 calories” (Griffin 1). Laughter cannot exactly replace the usual exercises, but as a physical activity, it helps people burn some calories. Moreover, a sense of humor can protect people from developing heart problems. Whipple and Calvert cite a study from the University of Maryland Medical Center (2). This study discovered that forty percent of people with heart diseases laugh less than those without it. In other words, having a positive disposition in life and laughing can be a protective factor from developing some of the lifestyle diseases plaguing modern citizens. Aside from giving people several physical benefits, a sense of humor can help them become more intelligent too. PBS. org outlines the mental effects of having a healthy sense of humor. First, a sense of humor boosts creativity (“ Benefits of Humor”). This can happen because when people have a sense of humor, they tend to see issues and problems with an open mind. Open-mindedness can result to creative ideas and solutions. Second, PBS. org cites research that emphasizes the role of humor in improving problem-solving abilities. Though not fully explained, it is inferred that humor, as mentioned, helps people adequately relax to have the presence of mind that consider more options and opportunities in solving problems than people who have poor sense of humor. Third, humor can boost the memory too. PBS. org believes that research suggests that reading or watching humorous material can enhance the memory. It happens arguably because people’s senses are heightened and the brain is activated with pleasure hormones that make memorizing easier. These examples show that a sense of humor goes beyond the body and improves the mind too. Body and mind aside, a healthy sense of humor helps improve people’s emotional and social identity, as it increases resilience, energy, and hope. Resilience refers to perseverance in difficult times. An uncle of this student has lung cancer, and his marriage was falling apart because of his affair. However, he developed a better sense of humor with the help of his psychologist and pastor. Since then, he felt less stressed and more capable of handling his problems. Laughter saved his life because even without chemotherapy, though with lifestyle changes, his cancer cells reduced enough to not affect his functioning. Humor saved his marriage too because he became more passionate for their relationship. Humor enhances energy too. Whipple and Calvert explore how humor improves energy, where they state that the more people laugh, the more they find themselves having the energy to do their everyday activities (Whipple and Calvert 3). Humor boosts physical energy. Energy and resilience help people become more hopeful. Laughter helps buoy positive feelings that promote hope, and hope helps people cope with difficult life conditions. Hope is also good in maintaining and strengthening relationships. Happy people tend to have stronger marriages and happier relationships because laughter bonds people. A sense of humor, not just the physical act of laughing, is the best medicine. It is the best pill for a healthy wellbeing because it contributes to a happy mindset, a hopeful heart, and a strong body. The world needs more humor. It needs more laughter, not only for the reason that obesity and several lifestyle diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer, are rising, but because life’s numerous social ills can be better resolved when people are resilient and positive in thinking and action. The world should laugh more- laugh their way to good health and a stronger individual and collective identity. Reflection For this essay, I found the writing part the hardest because it is not easy to combine different sources and ideas in one paragraph. The easiest is reading the articles because sense of humor is an enjoyable topic. I enjoyed reading about the benefits of sense of humor, especially how it heals people’s bodies and relationships. In addition, because of this essay, I learned that an expository paper requires a sound exposition of an idea. It is not as rigorous as an argumentative essay, but it has elements of forming convincing claims. In the future, I can do better by looking up other references and including more personal and influential evidence and stories. Works Cited “ Benefits of Humor.” PBS. org. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. Griffin, R. Morgan. “ Give Your Body a Boost — With Laughter.” Web MD. com. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. Whipple, Carol, and Susan Calvert. The Connection between Laughter, Humor, and Good Health. UK Cooperative Extension Service, 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.