The arrival of the month of April always makes me smile, accompanied by occasional outbreaks of laughter. The reason for my feeling of happiness is that April is designated as National Humour Month. Not that we need an excuse to laugh but a celebration of “feeling good” is a holiday in which we all should partake.
The creator of this gleeful celebration is one Larry Wilde, who decided in 1976 to devote the entire month to laughter. His aim was and presumably still is, to heighten public awareness on how the joy and therapeutic value of laughter can improve health, boost morale, increase communication skills and enrich the quality in one’s life. Sounds like a good enough reason to me!
Over the years researchers have explored laughter’s effects on the body and produced some interesting information on how it affects us. For example, a study conducted by researchers of the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas and concluded that blood vessels of the group watching comedies expanded and contracted easily, while the blood vessels of the people watching dramas, tended to tense up restricting blood flow. Other studies also reveal that the ability to use humour may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies and boost the level of immune cells.
Want more proof? There’s even scientific evidence that it may offer protection against a heart attack. A study with results presented at the American Heart Association’s 73rd Scientific Session showed that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
A happier person has a positive outlook towards life, lives each day without worrying about the future, appreciates and enjoys the blessings in life and is able to enjoy life to the fullest. Is that you?
Here’s an interesting piece of information for people who are watching their weight. Giggling for a mere 15 minutes per day burns enough calories to shed up to 5lbs. of fat over the year. Researchers measured the number of calories expended by 45 adults while watching a comedy film including nature and comedy shows. Bouts of laughter when watching a comedy film used up 20% more energy than at rest. You can read more about the research conducted by surfing over to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6274119.stm
So what does this all mean in the scheme of things? You don’t need medical proof that laughter makes you feel good. In the way of celebrating throughout the month, rent some ‘nutsy’ comedies at least once per week or watch a (good) TV sitcom. Share funny stories and/or jokes with friends – chances are at least one (hopefully more) will elicit a smile or laugh. Read some books written by people who are known for their comedic expression. Some personal favourites are books by the late humorist, Erma Bombeck or compilations by columnist, Dave Barry and don’t forget to laugh at yourself now and then.
Drop by http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/07/03/funny.websites/index.html and you’ll find a list of 10 sites to make you laugh out loud. Actually, I feel a laugh coming on right now. You?