The Power of Laughter

Dave - Baker City, Oregon
Entered on April 9, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I believe in the power of laughter. There is an abundance of sadness in the world, but there is healing power in laughter that will help us overcome our dark situations. Robert Fulghum, in his piece called the Storyteller’s Creed, states his belief that laughter is the only cure for grief.

Laughter is good for us. There is evidence that laughter benefits the immune system and improves memory. Laughter increases the cells that destroy tumors and viruses. Laughing also lowers blood pressure, and addresses the effect of mental stress on the arteries. It’s also way cheaper than an office call.

Laughter relieves nervousness. When teachers assigned speeches in school, that was my cue to have a nervous breakdown. The major lesson I learned in college was that if I could make the other students laugh, it would relax me, and I could get through the speech fairly easily.

I’ve loved humor since I was old enough to get the joke. Anytime I saw a Saturday Evening Post,I immediately turned to the back pages for the “Hazel” cartoon. They also had a weekly feature called the “Perfect Squelch”, in which a know-it-all would be put in their place. I loved that!! My Granddad recited a poem when I was small, that went, “A very strange bird is the pelican; his beak holds more than his belly can; and I don’t see how in the hell he can.” I have been hooked on laughter ever since, and it is habit forming.

What is more fun than a fit of the giggles? When the seizure is over, you still continue to smile, and there is this great sense of contentment. This convulsion of laughter connects you to the people you shared it with like no other experience.

Even at a funeral, sharing funny events and the humor of the loved one is a way to demonstrate the humanity of the deceased. It prompts fond memories, and tells us that life will go on. Since that is the case, let us make it a life worth living. A life without laughter seems to me to be missing the point.

There are countles sources of humor. Newspapers, the Internet, and Reader’s Digest come to mind right away. A small item in the paper told of two young employees at an ice rink in Boise, ID who had ben fired for driving the Zamboni through the drive up lane at Burger King. That cracks me up every time I think of it. The next time you go through the express lane at the store, you might point out, “I didn’t want to say anything, but the person ahead of me was two items over the limit.” Say it with a smile.

I love music, but for me, nothing compares to the melody of laughter. The sound of other people laughing will cause you to smile, even if you don’t know the reason for their glee. Enjoy!!