When thinking about alternative medicine, most people picture plants, crystals, needles, maybe some bugs and leeches, but few realize that jokes, humor and comedy are truly medicines, in their own right. It’s long been established that optimists live longer than pessimists, but now there’s some hard evidence that people who have a better sense of humor also have longer and healthier lives.
Your “stay healthy” plan should include a joke and a 20-minute comedy show, to go with the broccoli and carrots. There are now various associations and physicians specialized in the so-called therapeutic humor, who are still exploring the functions of laughter in our lives. Perhaps the most obvious of these roles is that associated with the social life – jokes frequently enable people to join and to bond, and sharing a fantastic laughter is a fantastic procedure to integrate in a group, to get together with the colleagues, neighbors and so forth.
This function is critical from the viewpoint of mental health, because it reduces loneliness and, with it, depression and other issues related to it. You don’t need to be educated in stand-up comedy so as to say something humorous, sometimes all you need is a change of view or the guts to make fun at your own expense.
Humor is a priceless asset in emergency situations, when it helps us calm down and lower the degree of stress (and most of the negative effects stress has on health). It’s often believed that, among patients with very severe diseases, those with an optimistic attitude, that are capable of making jokes about their own situations, have the best chances to overcome the illness. Up to now, there have been no scientific studies to prove that, but the patients themselves report feeling better after connecting an activity with humorous potential, even if it’s just watching a comedy show together with a few friends or with other sufferers.
Recent studies imply that laughter affects more than our mental framework, it actually has a beneficial influence on the physical aspect also. It’s been widely accepted, for some time, that laughter increases the pain immunity level, but the concept is still not known. In actuality, hardly any studies have been made about the connection between humor and health, but those present seem to indicate a fantastic joke may lower the blood pressure, enhance memory and cognitive capabilities and enhance the immune system.
Moreover, these results aren’t short-term only: it appears that a fantastic sense of humor can protect you against heart ailments and change your biochemical condition to a degree where the organism produces more antibodies. The dearth of research in the area is a result of the fact that people have always assumed that laughter is good for your health (along with an apple a day and a breath of fresh air), but little has been done to test this in depth. There’s also a “bad” humor (like there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol).
This category comprises the approach which makes people feel unhappy about themselves, or angry, angry and vengeful, in addition to the skeptic and cynic attitude, which is often the front for deep depression and indifference. Jokes directed at other men and women are also”bad” humor, together with cultural, racial and sexist jokes, which are born from frustration, not out of optimism and cheerfulness.
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Also, people who frequently make fun of themselves conceal a very low self esteem, which is only worsened with each funny joke they devise (there’s an excellent reason clowns and effective comedy actors tend to be perceived as sad and depressed in their lives). If you choose to use laughter as a therapeutic method, the first obvious issue is that there are no harmful side effects, and you have nothing to lose. The second problem is that you may actually enhance your sense of humor in time, same as any other skill or ability, by continuous exposure and training to jokes and humor.
Next time you go to the movies, buy a ticket for a comedy, no matter how dumb the poster appears. When you read the newspaper, do not forget to check out their everyday cartoon too. Spend ten minutes daily reading jokes, and, when you find some you like, share them with friends and family. And when your boss catches you reading jokes rather than working, tell him it’s just therapy, he can not prevent your from taking your medicine on the job, right? Last but not least, try to discover the funny side of those tiny things that happen daily around you – there’s always something absurd or plain dumb going on right near you, which might provide five minutes of great laugher, which, in turn, may unblock some arteries and keep the heart attack away away.