A Kate Walks Into A Bar…

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Kate Murphy  - Student Journalist -
Photo credit to memorise.org

Photo credit to memorise.org

Question: Why did the calf cross the road?

Answer: To get to the udder side.

Pretty funny, right? Well, if you laughed or shook your head in shame, adults laugh about 15 times a day. That sounds cheerful, until you find out that children laugh about 400 times in a 24-hour period. Talk about a giggle gap.

According to gelotology, kids are constantly joyful. No, that's not the study of gelatin desserts. Gelotology is the study of laughter and its effect on the body and mind. As it turns out, laughter provides incredible health benefits. Whether it's a clip on America's Funniest Home Videos, or your grandma messing around with her dentures, laughter is one of the best medicines.

Laughing may reduce stress
There's no better feeling than a good ol' gut laugh. Laughter has the power to stop the body's stress response. In fact, laughter can slash stress hormone levels; levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine, tend to decrease during bouts of laughter. And since stress hormones can suppress our immune system, laughter may be a way to protect our body's defenses.

Even the anticipation of laughter that's about to burst can make us feel better. Gelotologists and their laughter studies have discovered that people's levels of endorphins, or "feel-good" hormones, rise right before the subjects were about to be shown or told something funny.

Laughter also engages our muscles. Once we've stopped laughing, the muscles are feelin' good; muscle relaxation can last up to about 45 minutes. Goodbye tension, hello relief!

Laughing may support a healthy lifestyle
Laughter not only makes you feel good, but it is good for you too. Having the giggles can significantly lower one's blood pressure. Now, I am not suggesting that heart disease patients should use comedy clubs instead of medication, but laughter can have some astounding therapeutic results on cardiovascular health. Finding something to laugh about may help a patient's heart as well as his soul.

Working toward strengthening your core? Laughing builds up your abdominal muscles. Not only that, but laughter can help support a healthy digestive system, stimulate the circulatory system, and strengthen the respiratory system. Even though laughter can't replace a cardio workout, a hearty chuckle is more like a light, brief aerobic workout. It's also thought that the rush of laughter speeds up the heartbeat and sends more oxygen to our noggin', which could boost memory skills. Who knew that a simple "a person walks into a bar" joke could be beneficial toward one's mind, body, and soul?

Laughter is a medicine
Laughter may be one of the best natural pain relievers around; it's effective, free, and available everywhere. No prescription needed.

Okay, so the idea of ‘LOL-ing' may not pop into your mind if you just fell down the stairs or sliced open your thumb, but it can help. Laughter eases fear and anger, which allows us to deal better with a bad situation. Chortles may also increase our tolerance for pain by releasing endorphins. The next time you smack your funny bone against the corner of a table, just tell yourself it's your elbow's attempt at stand-up.

You laugh?! ME TOO!
"Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone." Have you ever noticed how no one wants to hang around with a Debbie Downer? Finding humor in life and being able to laugh about it improves social skills. Many scientists believe laughter allows for humans to connect, bond, and communicate with each other. The more comfortable you feel with someone, the easier it is to giggle. It's much easier to laugh in a social setting than if you're alone.

Everyone laughs. Whether you travel to Paris, Texas or leap over to Paris, France, laughter is a universal means of communication. A funny YouTube video can induce cackles regardless of nationality, culture, or language. Laughter is a great way to break the ice, but bind everyone together.

When you're feeling blue, needing a pick-me-up, or acting goofy, laughter is the answer to all of our problems. Well... that may be a stretch, but getting a case of the giggles sure does make a person feel better. On that note, I leave you with one more joke...

Voldemort: Knock knock
Harry Potter: Who's there?
Voldemort: You know.
Harry Potter: You know who?
Voldemort: Exactly!

Admit it. You at least smiled. :)

Ta ta for now,