Monday, April 27, 2015

Laugh it up! April is National Humor Month

"Humour or humor (see spelling differences) is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours (Latin: húmor, "body fluid"), control human health and emotion". ~Wikipedia

Once again as it occurs every year since 1976, National Humor Month is celebrated around the world by people who have a sense of humor. Perhaps even people who don't have a sense of humor but enjoy the mere act of laughing out loud, or in private, but I digress.

It's interesting to note that a month devoted to humor starts on April 1st being April Fools Day. For the record, Larry Wilde is responsible for the creation of National Humor Month, which devotes the entire month to laughter. His aim was and presumably still is, to heighten public awareness of how the joy and therapeutic value of laughter can improve health, boost morale, increase communication skills and enrich the quality of one's life.

Researcher, Robert R. Provine, a neuro-scientist engaged in studies of the development, evolution and neural mechanisms of behavior, has focused on studying laughter and observed thousands of incidents of laughter spontaneously occurring in everyday life. He shared his findings in Laughter: A Scientific Investigation (Penguin Books, 2001).

 "Laughter is not primarily about humor," wrote Dr. Provine, "but about social relationships."

Among some of his surprising (at least to me) findings:

- Health benefits of laughter are probably coincidental, a consequence of a much more important primary goal, which is bringing people together. Not too sure if he's entire right, at least IMHO. Given the choice, people would prefer to laugh than cry. Right?
- Laughter plays a big role in mating. Men like women who laugh heartily in their presence. Won't touch that one with a ten-foot pole.
- Both sexes laugh a lot but females laugh more - 126% more than their male counterparts. Men are more laugh-getters
- The laughter of the female is the critical index of a healthy relationship. Again, this is a questionable statement. I mean, it would depend on the reason for the female's laughter. Is it at or with the person?
- Laughter in relationships declines dramatically as people age

Interesting statistic that females laugh 126% more than males. Perhaps - pure speculation and some observation - females have a better sense of humor. By laugh-getters I'm assuming that they prefer to get/acquire the laughs, which in turn the females will respond by laughing or in some cases, rolling their eyes.

Another theory of why people laugh professes that people laugh to assert that they are on a level equal to or higher than those around them. Research has shown that bosses tend to crack more jokes than do their employees. I would also imagine that employees laugh at their bosses jokes for obvious reasons, especially if a raise in salary is imminent.

Women laugh much more in the presence of men and men generally tell more jokes in the presence of women. Men have even been shown to laugh much more quietly around women, while laughing louder when in a group of men. Males could consider laughing quietly while in the presence of females to be polite. I mean, a loud, coughing and snorting laugh could be considered brash or socially unacceptable. JMHO of course...

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 vesssels of the people watching dramas tended to tense up restricting blood flow. More proof?

There's 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. This all means that it's good for your health to laugh.

In honor of this month of merriment, here are some jokes. Warning: some are groaners.

-   Two cannibals were eating a clown. One said to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"

-  Did you hear about the man who spent too much money on Viagra: Now, he's hard up

-  Did you hear about the guy that lost his left arm and leg in a car crash?
He's all right now.

-  What do you call four bull fighters in quicksand?
Quatro sinko.

Some questions worth thinking about:

-  Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?"~ Steve Wright

-  Why is abbreviation such a long word?~ Steve Wright

-  Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.
~ Jerry Seinfeld

 Don't know who wrote this but it best sums up being happy: "Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life."

Meanwhile - laugh it up!

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