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Laugh it up! - A Speech on the Medical Benefits of Laughter

By TK-Trianumetzu Apr 23, 2007 765 Words
Our five senses are not enough for ideal living. We need to use our sixth sense: our sense of humor. Humor is not merely telling jokes; it is the way we view the world. We can be sincere about life without taking it so seriously. We can laugh about our mistakes and pain. Louis Kornenberger explains: Humor simultaneously wounds and heals, indicts and pardons, diminishes and enlarges; it constitutes inner growth at the expense of outer gain.Yet, we humans laugh an average of only 17 times a day. Biologically, humans are the few living beings that laugh, and yet we take this luxury for granted. Laughter releases endorphins, a drug 10 times more powerful than morphine, into the body. This gives the body that feel-good feeling. Laughter can lead to humans having healthier lives, as well as many other benefits.

In the first chapter of Norman Cousins book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, he tells about how he was diagnosed in 1964 with AS (the acute inflammation of the spine). He goes on to say that his case was so severe that he was given a one in five-hundred chance of recovery and only a few months to live. Realizing that negative thoughts and attitudes can result in illness, he reasoned that positive thoughts and attitudes might have the opposite effect. So he left the hospital and checked into a hotel where he took mega doses of Vitamin C and watched humorous movies and shows. He found that ten minutes of boisterous laughter resulted in at least two hours of pain-free sleep. He continued his routine until he recovered.

That shows that laughter can possibly be a miracle cure.

However, that is just one benefit of laughing. There are numerous others. For instance, laughter lowers inhibitions, dissolving tension, stress, anxiety, irritation, anger, grief, and depressions. After a good dose of laughter, you will experience a sense of well-being. This was simplified by Mary Pettibone Poole, who said "He who laughs, lasts."G.K. Chesterton says that laughter also has medical benefits. Medical researchers have found that laughter boosts the immune system. The study of how behavior and the brain affect the immune system is psychoneuroimmunology. Though still in its infancy, this science is rapidly gaining much attention as humanity strives to understand the mind-body relationship. What they have found out is that laughter reduces pain by releasing endorphins that are more potent than equivalent amounts of morphine. Humor helps integrate both hemispheres of our brain, for the left hemisphere is used to decipher the verbal content of a joke while the right hemisphere interprets whether it is funny or not. It also helps you be more productive, a better communicator, and a superior team player. Furthermore, according to a report given by Dr. James Walsh a professor at Duke, Laughter is the equivalent to a small amount of exercise. It massages all the organs of the body. In the words of William James: We dont laugh because were happy, we are happy because we laugh!That is only the tip of iceberg. How Stuff Works adds more information to the already long list of benefits. For instance, did you know that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike? It also gives your diaphragm, and your abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles a workout. That is usually why you feel exhausted after a long bout of laughter—you have just had an aerobic workout!Doctors have even used Laughter Therapy, which teaches people to laugh—openly—at things that are not usually funny and to cope in difficult situations by using humor.

Furthermore, Comedy Clubs have opened up, and they are now considered The Minds Spa! Even a TV channel has been solely made to make people laugh 24/7/365 (366 on Leap Year). They call this station Comedy Central.

So, to sum it all up, laughter has numerous health benefits that can help you lead a long-lasting life. Humans need to realize that laughter is a luxury, and its pros far outweigh his cons. So the next time you feel down, listen to a good joke or read a funny story and laugh your problems away!Works CitedA Big Mystery: Why do we Laugh? MSNBC. 27 May 1999 .

Cousins, Norman. Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient. New York City: Bantam, 1991.

G.K. Chesterton. Benefits of Laughter. 21 March 2007. 22 March 2007 .

How Laughter Works. How Stuff Works. 21 March 2007. 22 March 2007 .

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