You know the feeling. You are out to dinner with your ladies, talking sh*t and one of them relates a story so hilarious you laugh until your eyeballs explode and your synapses melt into a giddy, happy mess. You have tears dripping down the side of your face and are unable to breathe (and as an asthmatic, I find breathing highly useful). It’s the best feeling in the world.
There is a time to have a serious soul, but, hell, Laughter. We can’t live without it. Seriously.
Many of us are excited about “thank f*ck the year is over” festivities (Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever) and the prospect of a month-long holiday. Others are slumped into an end of year funk. There are circumstances that make even the hardiest of us mortals hardwire ourselves to our beds, reluctant to move with the burden of a heavy heart. The death of a loved one, bad memories of this time of year, the enormous pressure of living up to everyone’s expectations at Christmas, depression, mental illness. As people, we need to be easy on ourselves but it’s sometimes easier said than done.
I love making people laugh and I love the laughter that it brings me when I make people happy. I love being made happy. I love taking the piss out of the inane, I love crying with laughter at shared comedic stories. I can get knee-deep in a funk just like the best of us, but it rarely lasts long. I am eternally grateful for this as I know many people don’t actually have that choice.
It’s good for us. Something goes on in our bodies when we laugh.
Let’s look at the science of laughter (it’s called “gelotology” did ya know). Go on, call me a science nerd, I DARE YOU.
The best evidence of laughter as “medicine” comes from it’s being a physiological pain killer. When we laugh, we activate our ventromedial prefontal cortex (it’s a brain thing) that produces endorphins, the hormones that reduce pain. Laughter has also been shown to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.
The science isn’t conclusive, but laughter may also:
- Increase blood flow which gives us the feeling of having been at the gym for an hour, without having to frighten others with our post-apocalypt…ahem, christmas dinner gym buttocks.
- Increase our immunity by raising the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boosting our immune cells.
- Lower our blood sugar levels.
- Help us sleep. Hahahahaha! It’s a joke right! I get it! Laughter + Having Kids = Sleep! The ultimate cosmic (and hilarious) F you!
Here are a couple of memes that made me laugh out loud this year:
- Food Name Fails
- Love, Actually II “Official Trailer” [spoof]
- Call Me Maybe Chatroulette. It’s puerile but f*ck me, it’s funny.
- Justin Timberlake shows us how dumb we look when we use hashtags.
- Funniest kids tests of all time.
Go on, have a guffaw on me. What made you laugh this year?