The most thoroughly wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.
Nicolas Chamfort, a French writer
We are exposed to many challenges as we make our way through life. Laughter functions as a remedy to these challenges. Laughter makes you stronger, friendlier and sexier.
Eighteenth century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, says hope, sleep and laughter are trio of tactics humans use to counterbalance life’s troubles.
Ashley Montagu, a British-American anthropologist and humanist, has written much about the function of laughter. He says, “We are not short of theories to explain the mystery; for centuries, biologists, philosophers, psychologists and medical doctors have sought a definitive explanation of laughter.” Research continues and now many institutions have departments where they study this phenomenon.
How does laughter make you stronger, friendlier and sexier? An article in the Scientific American Mind (April/May/June 2009) titled, Laughing Matters, says, “Seeing the bright side of life may strengthen the psyche, ease pain and tighten social bonds.” It is written by a psychologist, Steven Ayan. Some of the points discussed in Ayan’s article are summarized here.
Does laughter have influence on physical fitness? No, it is not like pumping iron. But it does have effect on our body by producing short-term changes in our cardio-vascular and respiratory function. Laughter increases our heart rate, respiratory rate and depth and increases our oxygen consumption. Laughter relaxes muscles, decreasing muscle tone for up to 45 minutes after the laughter has subsided.
Laughter may not make you physically strong but it does make you emotionally strong by improving your emotional state and improve your mood. Studies have shown laughter reduces blood concentration of the stress hormone – cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol can weaken your immune system. Experiments have shown laughter increases the activity of immune cells called natural killer cells in saliva in healthy subjects. Making a nursing mom laugh might sometimes serve as an allergy remedy for her baby. Laughter makes your immune system strong. It makes your mental and physical health strong.
Humour has a calming effect by creating emotional distance between yourself and the excitatory stimulus. It makes you strong by taking sting out of defeat and disappointment. Ayan references studies which show that being a cheerful person with a sense of humour may help you endure negative events and situations and protect you from the threat of pain.
Does laughter make you friendlier? Yes, it does. Ayan says being funny and cheerful can cultivate friendships, facilitates bonding and builds social support.
Does laughter make you sexier? Of course, it does. Funny people get more dates. Ayan’s article says that in 2006, researchers from Westfield State College and McMaster University in Ontario reported that women are more likely to consider a man in a photograph a desirable relationship partner if the picture is accompanied by a funny quote attributed to the man. And you know the women preferred the funny men despite rating them, on average, less intelligent and less trustworthy.
What about men? Men prefer women who laugh at their jokes. A 1990 study suggests that when women and men chat, the amount of laughing by the woman indicates both her interest in dating the man and her sexual appeal to the man. Ayan says, the man’s laughter did not relate to attraction in either direction.
So, do not waste your days by not laughing. And you know laughter makes you emotionally and psychologically strong, makes you physically friendlier and sexually attractive…….yummy!
Next week: Laughter and love and why women laugh more than man? Stay tuned and keep on laughing.
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