Laughter Is The Best Policy


us_navy_laughingOK, actually honesty is the best policy, but laughter is right there beside him.

I have to say, I used to turn my nose up on the many, many pictures posted on Facebook with cute or clever or wise sayings inscribe on top. The technical name for this, I guess, is memes. Some people seem to post nothing more than memes, and quite frankly I rarely read their posts. Until recently.

What I’ve experienced of late is angst, disharmony, despair, confusion, criticism. Yep, lots of criticism. It’s his fault, it’s their fault, it’s our fault, it’s this other group, it’s our group, it’s the fault of those behind the evil conspiracy.

Enter a belly laugh-inducing meme.

Or even better are the funny pet videos. I have to say, some have made me laugh so hard, I nearly put them on my own site. I mean, a meme or a pet video has to be pretty hilarious for me to share it.

But given the seriousness of the news, the negative tone, and the disagreeable disagreements, funny feels refreshing.

I think other people might agree. Some of the biggest responses to my Facebook posts are to the ones that are humorous.

Of course there’s a real, physical reason for this. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers. There are other benefits to laughter that we may not realize right away: it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, exercises your abs, is good for your heart health, improves sleep, and increases your chance to win the lottery.

OK, not that last one. But laughter has numerous physical benefits. No wonder we enjoy laughter as a tension reliever. No wonder movie makers and playwrights include a little comic relief in their stories.

Interestingly, science has grabbed hold of laughter, and it’s become a topic of study. Apparently people in all cultures laugh, so laughter is considered one of the universal languages.

Laughter isn’t dependent on jokes either. Circumstances and people seem to be the most important factor.

When I was growing up, I remember a couple of instances when we as a family broke into laughter. The thing was, the harder we tried to stop laughing, the more we laughed. Once we were in a diner and a rather large woman squeezed herself between two tables. We thought that was funny but didn’t want to be rude, so we tried to control our laughter. Finally my sister and I went to the bathroom to get the laughter out of our system.

I remember laughing as a family at some of the I Love Lucy shows. Funny, slapstick comedy made the funnier because we were together laughing.

Once we got to laughing in church. It didn’t end well.

My dad could make me laugh simply by adopting a loud fake laugh. My sister-in-law got my sister and me laughing so hard because she pressed an invisible laugh button.

I think we need a laugh button, invisible or not, in America today. We need to solve the great divide in our country by laughing together. Maybe then we could move toward common solutions instead of divided arguments.

Laughter reminds me that we’re all human. What makes one person laugh, will probably make other people laugh, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. People are people, and we seem to forget that sometimes.

Yep, laughter is the best policy. At least for the short term. It’s only a fleeting burst of joy, but it has longer-lasting effects. I’d like to hear more of it and less of the vitriolic over-talking that seems to be so popular these days.

Published in: on January 31, 2017 at 6:47 pm  Comments (5)  
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