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Laugh It Off: How Laughing is Beneficial To Your Health

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The editors at Master of Science in Nursing Degrees decided to research the topic of:

Laugh It Off: How Laughing is Beneficial To Your Health

We laugh 30 times more in social situations than alone

- (though you may be the most hilarious person you know)
- laughter increases blood flow by 22% ; stress decreases blood flow by 35%
- "gender determines the proportion of speaker and audience laughter." [--Robert Provine]
- women laugh more often than men, as speaker and as audience
- Ever heard of a gaggle of giggling girls?
- (in mixed group) female speakers laughed 127% more often than male audience
- on average, men evoke more laughs than women

Forget the funny bone. Your whole body loves to laugh!

A good dose of laughter:

- boosts the immune system
- Some studies show it's more beneficial than relaxation
- reduces stress-related hormones
- increases number of activated natural virus killing cells
- circulates moist, stagnant air in lungs which increases blood oxygen
- raises heart rate
- (Forget the treadmill. I'll just watch some stand-up)
- exercises and relaxes muscles
- improves respiration
- stimulates circulation
- increases immune system's defenses
- elevates pain threshold and tolerance
- induces positive emotional states
- enhances mental functioning (a few laughs and, suddenly, everyone's a genius!)

Pain Management: Pot may not be legal everywhere (yet), but laughter is!

- laughter triggers activation of the endorphin system
- endorphins: neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in pain management

Who wants to be the life of the party?

- Social effects of laughter:
1. signals social interest in companion
2. positive affect ? social bonding
3. enhances cooperation (crucial in evolution of humans in large groups)
a. Get 'em to laugh and they'll follow you anywhere...maybe.
4. regulates social interaction
5. vital re: conversation regulation (signifies roles during social play)
- laughter is contagious
- (Laughter, the universal language) it is a universal human vocalization
- studies show
- men are more attracted to women who laugh in their presence
- women seek laughter twice as often as they offer it
- laughter seldom interrupts the structure of speech
- neurologically based process determines the placement of laughter in speech
- synchronizes the brains of the speaker and audience ? more emotionally attuned
- laughter helps prompt a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection; pleasure in the company of each other

Ever try to get out of an argument by laughing? ...yea, you might get slapped.

Hunter Doherty "Patch" Adams:

- physician, clown, social activist
- founded the Gesundheit (=good health) Institute in 1971
- believes real health care must involve humor, play, creativity, and joy
- "Health is based on happiness-from hugging and clowning around to finding joy in family and friends, satisfaction in work, and ecstasy in nature and the arts." (--Patch Adams)
- uses humor to facilitate trust between patients and doctors
- hopes to reform the medical profession (anti-HMOs and anti-greed mentality)
- advocates/participates in "humanitarian clowning" trips
- (people dressed in full clown costume visiting orphanages, hospitals, and prisons)
- claims "humor is an antidote for all ills"
- helped 15,000 patients during the 12 year pilot program at the Gesundheit Institute
- helped tens of thousands of patients in the institute's 40 year history
- Patch Adams is now primarily focused on raising funds for his vision of an ideal hospital (several decades of fundraising without sufficient total funding)
- working towards building and sustaining the first free hospital
- Facts re: Patch Adams:
- does not own one piece of monochromatic clothing
- two sons, Atomic Zagnut "Zag" Adams and Lars Zig Endquist Adams
- owns 3 singing butts
- personally supports more than 300 orphans worldwide
- often raises over $1,000,000 but gives away all of the money