Laughter – Humor and the Brain

Gelotology—the name of a new branch of science that studies the psychological and physiological effects of humor and laughter on the brain and the immune system. And studies proliferate! That’s a good thing.

Laughter is not relegated to humans only—it has been found among various animals. According to Phil Donahue, however, humans are the only creatures on this planet able to appreciate all the shadings of humor. It can be used to trigger laughter or laughter can simply be a choice. It’s not a sense of humor that provides myriad benefits to the brain and body, however. It’s laughter.

Remarkably variable, laughter may be better thought of as a broad class of sounds with relatively distinct subtypes, each of which may function somewhat differently in a social interaction.

It has been described as the most enjoyable form of human communication. There are likely as many variations as there are human beings who laugh. Some smile with barely a sound, others snort, guffaw, gasp, grunt, wheeze, flail, or double-over as tears fly from their eyes.

In whichever ways you describe laughter and however you get there, use it—and the Brain References related to the brain and laughter.

 

Laughter reduces the secretion of both stress hormones (so-called): adrenalin and cortisol. A good sustained belly laugh results in a rise in endorphin production and a decrease in adrenaline and cortisol. Laughter is the best medicine. (O’Brien, Mary, MD. Successful Aging. p 30-31, 152-153. CA: Biomed General. 2007.)

Laughter may help to dissipate hormones (e.g., adrenalin) that have increased due to actual or anticipation of confrontations or threatening situations. (Greenfield, Susan A., Con. Ed. Brain Power. p 159-161. MA: The Ivy Press Limited, 1999.)

Unfortunately, people tend to laugh less frequently as they grow into adulthood (as compared to childhood). (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 134-135. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

Study of punch-line completion/comprehension: Aging may subtly affect parts of the brain that are involved in humor comprehension. (Hitti, Miranda.  http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20070803/humor-hampered-by-aging-brain. August 3, 2007.)

A good sense of humor and plenty of laughter is associated with healthy aging. “A good laugh is better than a dose of medicine anytime.” (Segerberg, Osborn. Jr. Living To Be 100. p 200. NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982.)

In their best-selling book, "The Okinawa Program," based on an ongoing study of elderly people on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Dr. Bradley J. Wilcox, Dr. Craig Wilcox, and Dr. Makoto Suzuki wrote that "during laughter, muscles throughout your body tense and relax in a way that is strikingly similar to stress-reduction techniques. Laughter keeps muscles supple as well as relaxed. It also has been shown to stimulate the immune system." (The Health Benefits of Laughter. http://heyugly.org/LaughterOneSheet2.php)

On average, children laugh 400 times a day, while adults laugh about 15 times. (Palmer, Gary K. Brigham Young University. The Power of Laughter. p 32-35. Ensign, Sept 2007.)

The minimum number of laughs needed per day by adults is 30. Change this to at least 100 and recognize that the sky is the limit. (Beck, Martha, PhD. The Joy Diet. p 160-162. NY: Crown Publishers, 2003.)

By the time a child reaches nursery school, he or she will laugh about 300 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 17 times a day. (Science of Laughter. Discovery Health.)

Children laugh more frequently each day than adults. Some reports indicate that children laugh an average of 300 times per day, while adults get in less than 20. (Sprague-Smith, Marilyn, M.Ed. C’mon, Let’s Laugh. The North Carolina Journal for Women.)

Kids laugh 400 times a day while adults only laugh about 15 times a day. Research by Barb Fisher, University of Minnesota: 20 seconds of a good, hard belly laugh is worth three minutes on the rowing machine. (Brown, Tata Nicole, managing editor. Holistic Times, p 27. 15, No 4 (Clayton College of Natural Health, Alabama.)

Babies start to laugh at about age 10 weeks. At 16 weeks babies laugh about once per hour. Children age 4 tend to laugh about 15 times per hour. The average adult American laughs about 15 times a day. Very happy people laugh several hundred times per day. (Sobel, David S., and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 49-59. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

William Fry, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School: the average kindergarten student laughs 300 times a day, the average adult laughs just 17 times a day. (Gallozzi, Chuck. Benefits of Laughter.)

Michael Miller, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, recommends 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis. (Laughter Facts.)

Reports estimate between 100-400 laughs per day in people who are in good spirits. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter occurs much more often when people are engaged in social interactions with others than when they are alone. (Martin, Rod A. White Papers. Do Children Laugh Much More Often than Adults Do? )

The use of hostile humor may be used to help individuals express anger (although it sometimes may be used to avoid painful issues or to avoid the therapeutic process. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 81-82. CE Express.)

It is very difficult to remain in a state of anger when you are genuinely laughing. (David S. and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 174-175. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

Sharing amusement creates a bond. It is difficult to sty upset or to remain angry at someone with whom you have shared humor. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.)

Nonhuman creatures are capable of laughter (e.g., rodents). They can make a noise researchers have identified as giggling. (Beck, Martha, PhD. The Joy Diet. p 153-154. NY: Crown Publishers, 2003.)

Although previously believed that laughter was uniquely human, laughter is not confined to humans. Animal studies on rats, monkeys and dogs, show that certain sounds they make are indicative of laughter. Rat pups, for example, emit short, high frequency, ultrasonic vocalizations when playing with each other, and when tickled. Rat pups "laugh" far more than older rats. Monkeys also appear to make laughing noises during play and interaction. Chimpanzees show laughter-like behavior in response to physical contact, such as wrestling, chasing, or tickling. Chimpanzee laughter is not readily recognizable to humans as such, because it is generated by alternating inhalations and exhalations that sound more like breathing and panting. The chuff or huff of a dog when he/she is excited to see you all suggest these animals laugh. Intelligence studies on dolphins have shown that two dolphins can refer to a third dolphin by name. Who can say they’re not telling a joke, or capable of laughing during play? (Source)

Laughter is the most enjoyable form of human communication. Humans are the only animals able to appreciate all the shadings of humor; it integrates the limbic system with the frontal lobes. (Donahue, Phil. The Human Animal. p 331-334. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1985, 1986.)

Studies by Dr. Berk of Loma Linda University: Beta-Endorphin and Human Growth Hormone increase are associated with both the anticipation of and the experience of mirthful laughter. Reported April 3, 2006. (Berk, Lee S. PhD. Paper presented in an American Physiological Society session at Experimental Biology, 2006.)

Study: anticipation of mirthful laughter reduced the levels of three detrimental stress hormones. Cortisol (termed the steroid stress hormone), epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and dopac, (the major catabolite of dopamine), were reduced 39, 70 and 38%, respectively (statistically significant compared to the control group). (Laughter Remains Good Medicine. 2009.)

There is a difference between automatic recognition (e.g., understanding the punch line of a joke) versus conscious recognition (e.g., the understanding of adding a set of figures and coming up with the right answer). (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. p 111. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

Babies start to laugh at about four months of age.

Laughter in infants occurs about a month after smiling. It may be observed as early as 5-9 weeks of age and is firmly in place by 4 months of age. (Rose, Kenneth Jon. The Body in Time. p 150-152. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1988.)

By about age 12 months a child begins to laugh at unusual or inappropriate adult behavior (e.g., funny faces, walking on all fours). By age two they begin to create their own juxtapositions and laugh at incongruities.(Branson, Roy, PhD. The Sacredness of Laughter. Vol 26, No. 4, January. p 45-46. WA: Spectrum, 1998.)

Children laugh more frequently each day than adults. Some reports indicate that children laugh an average of 300 times per day, while adults get in less than 20. (Sprague-Smith, Marilyn, M.Ed. C’mon, Let’s Laugh. The North Carolina Journal for Women.)

Boys and girls generally understand and appreciate humor equally. Boys, however, tend to enjoy more hostile humor (e.g., silly rhymes, naughty words, teasing). (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities, Understanding the Opposite Sex. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Laughter triggers the release of a cocktail of chemicals and hormones that are extremely beneficial and crucial to good health. These substances can boost immune system function, improve your outlook on life, diminish symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and can help prevent diseases and disorders caused by chronic stress. (Kataria, Madan, MD. Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga, Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training Manual. India, 2010 revised edition.)

Refer to Blood Pressure, Calories, Cardiac, Digestion, Emotions/Feelings, Energy, Health, Immune System, Learning, Memory, Pain, Respiratory, etc., for additional information.

The positive effects of humor have been known since biblical times. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 77. CE Express.)

Discusses theological perspective that “God” has a sense of humor. States that laughter has always been connected with the divine. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 140-149. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

Many Christian women are afraid to enjoy themselves in life. They tend to assume a role of pain and picture a “God” that tells them to stop laughing. In reality, the Bible portrays “God” as a being who laughs and rejoices over creation. (Conway, Jim and Sally. Women In Midlife Crisis. p 302-304. IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1971.)

This type of humor often develops during times of high stress as a defense against horror and whatever is it that is feared. It is a way to master the situation and provide some sense of control by laughing at it. Sometimes referred to a survivor humor, it is an active defense mechanism that helps people cope with fears and threats instead of surrendering to them. It allows care providers to release tension and thus continue to give compassionate care. It may actually add to the quality of performance due to reduced perceived emotional stress—must be used judiciously as it can be hurtful if the wrong person overhears it. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78-84. CE Express.)

Survivors of a disaster experience four emotional phases:

  • Heroic – basic concern is survival. Humor is spontaneous
  • Honeymoon – occurs 1 week to 3-6 months and involves recovery of optimism. Humor reflects a sense of optimism
  • Disillusionment – occurs 2-4 months after the disaster and may include anger, resentment and disappointment. Humor may be negative and sarcastic.
  • Reconstruction – is a period of recovery, rebuilding, and acceptance. Humor reflects a sense of community.

Learning to laugh again may be essential for emotional coping. (Ritz, S. E. Survivor humor and disaster nursing. In K. Buxman & A. LeMoine (Eds.), Nursing Perspectives on Humor. NY: Power Publications, 1995.)

Describes benefits of laughter (e.g., relaxes muscles, stimulates production of “feel-good” brain chemicals, increases blood flow to the peripheries). Anger and hostility can reverse these positive changes. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Exploring Consciousness. p 199. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

Humor/laughter can stabilize blood pressure, massage inner organs, strengthen immune system function, improve digestion, and may help you live longer. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104-105. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Laughter lowers the blood pressure temporarily. It causes an increase in vascular blood flow and an increase in oxygenation of the blood, which can promote healing. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men website. http://www.askmen.com/fashion/body_and_mind/19_better_living.html)

Study 2003, Reiss and colleagues: the brain's mesolimbic reward center, which is responsible for the rewarding feelings that follow such events as monetary gain or cocaine use, is also activated by humor. (http://www.news-medical.net/?id=14460)

Humor and Laughter: increase level and activity of natural killer cells, reduce pain, lower levels of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone) in the blood, and temporarily lower blood pressure. (McGhee, Paul E., Ph.D. The Physical Health Benefits. http://laughterremedy.com/articles.dir/humor.html)

Studies by Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center: In 2006, 20 healthy volunteers, none suffering from heart disease or high blood pressure, were randomly assigned to watch a 15- to 30-minute segment of either a comedy film to induce laughter, or an action-packed drama to cause mental stress. Nineteen of the 20 people who watched the comedy experienced increased blood flow by a mean of 15 percent, suggesting that laughter relaxes the arteries and may ease strain on the heart. Fourteen of the 20 volunteers who watched the drama found that blood flow in their arteries was reduced by a mean of 47 percent—an amount Miller compared to a fit of anger, which may raise blood pressure, constrict arteries and stress the heart. (Abrahms, Sally. Laughter Yoga to Improve Health? It’s No Joke. http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourhealth/healthyliving/articles/laughter_yoga_to_improve.html)

Humor and Laughter increase level and activity of natural killer cells, reduce pain, lower levels of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, dopac) in the blood, and temporarily lower blood pressure. (McGhee, Paul E., Ph.D. The Physical Health Benefits. brain-laughter/brain-laughter/%20http://laughterremedy.com/articles.dir/humor.html)

Areas in the right temporal lobe (right neocortex) interpret metaphor and "get" jokes. It understands what Freud called the "primary process," the language of the unconscious, the language of poems, art, and myth. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-28. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

MRI studies have shown that electrical stimulation can elicit laughter. Mirthful laughter was triggered in the left superior frontal gyrus (part of the left frontal lobe of the brain, Broca’s area, involved in the initiation of human speech). The laughter was not only produced consistently with electrical stimulation of this region of the brain, but was accompanied by a sensation of merriment or mirth. One conclusion is that laughter is simply a sound that is a form of speech. Is there a time to avoid laughter? Avoid laughter if you have broken ribs and right after abdominal surgery unless you are holding a pillow against your stitches.(Fried, Itzhak, et al. Electric current stimulates laughter. Nature 391, 650. 12 February, 1998 | doi:10.1038/35536 (Source)

Human beings have the potential to develop a sense of humor and each is born with the capacity to laugh. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 546-547. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Humor processing (getting the joke and laughing) appears to involve parts of the frontal lobes and a component of the pleasure pathway, the anterior cortex of the hypothalamus. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. p 92-94. PA: Rodale, 2003.)

Subconscious contractions of skeletal muscles involved in laughing in response to a joke are controlled by the basal ganglia, three chunks of gray matter located deep within each cerebral hemisphere. (Tortora, Gerard J. and Sandra Reynolds Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. p 469-471. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.)

Study 2003, Reiss and colleagues: the brain's mesolimbic reward center, which is responsible for the rewarding feelings that follow such events as monetary gain or cocaine use, is also activated by humor.

MRI study of brains of 16 healthy adults: used to detect areas of the brain that were activated when the subject found a cartoon funny. In addition to activating areas of the brain involved in language processing, humor also stimulated regions of the brain known as reward centers, such as the amygdala, which releases dopamine. (WebMD Medical News. Humor Activates Reward Center of the Brain.)

Humor triggers various areas of the brain to function in concert. Both humor and mirthful laughter result in physiological changes to the brain’s neurochemistry and to the body’s physiology. Presented in an interview with Dr. Lee. S. Berk. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology Humor & Health Letter. Vol III. No 6, p 7-8. Nov/Dec. MS: 1994.)

When using or experiencing positive humor and mirthful laughter, the whole brain is involved, not just one side, and that there's more coordination between both sides. (O’Donnell, Sinara Stull. Laugh More at Work To Ease Office Stress.)

fMRI Studies of brain activities activates in two types of humor. High-level visual areas were activated during visual humor and classic language areas were activated during language-dependent humor. (Watson, Karli K., et al. Brain Activation during Sight Gags and Language-Dependent Humor.)

People who are paranoid generally are humorless. (Miller, Lawrence, PhD. Inner Natures. Brain, Self & Personality. p 151-152. NY: Ballantine Books, 1990.)

Study using EEG topographical brain mapping of an individual hearing a joke: left hemisphere began to process the words. Then the frontal lobe center of emotionality was activated. 120 milliseconds later the right hemisphere began processing the pattern. A few milliseconds later the occipital lobe showed increased activity. Delta waves increased, the brain got the joke, and laughter erupted. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology. p 6-7. (interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk). Humor & Health Letter, Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec 1994, MS: Dunn.)

Normal brain development in children fluctuates by three years. (Jensen, Eric. Brain-Based Learning. p 340. CA: The Brain Store Publishing, 2000.)

Each brain develops so uniquely that completely normal development can differ by a spread of two or more years between learners of the same chronological age. (Healy, Jane. Your Child’s Growing Mind, p 70. 1987.)

When you hear a joke, it is the recognition of the incongruity that allows you to “get it.” (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 92. CE Express.)

Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. (Humor and Laughter: Health Benefits and Online Sources.)

The immediate involuntary action of laughter forms the most direct communication link possible between people, limbic brain to limbic brain. People who relish each other’s company laugh easily and often; those who distrust/dislike each other laugh little, if at all. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 12. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)

It takes a whole brain to appreciate a joke fully. The left hemisphere alone might not be able to make the connection between Siamese twins and the punch line in this joke: A young man returns from a blind date with Siamese twins. His friend inquires, “Did you have a good time?” The young man replied, “Well, yes and no.” (Wonder, Jacquelyn, and Priscilla Donovan. Whole Brain Thinking. 105. NY: Ballantine Books, 1984.)

Laughter initially raises blood pressure and pulse a bit and then they come down significantly-for as long as an hour. (O’Brien, Mary, MD. Successful Aging. p 30-31. CA: Biomed General. 2007.)

The brain triggers several things simultaneously during laughter: Visual – creation of specific facial gestures; Phonic – production of certain sounds; Body – changes in parts of the body including the arm, leg and trunk muscles. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men web site.)

Damage to the right frontal lobe of the cerebrum can decrease one’s ability to appreciate humor. This can, in turn, reduce one’s tendency to smile or laugh in response to a joke. (Richard, MD. The New Brain. p 93-94. PA: Rodale, 2003.)

Various portions of the brain work together to experience humor and laughter. Left hemisphere sets up the joke. Right hemisphere is involved in getting the joke. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 133-149. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

The left cerebral hemisphere creates the feeling of amusement and laughs when prompted. The right hemisphere “gets” the joke. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. p 36-38. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

Humor and laughter is processed via a complex pathway of brain activity. Three main components: sections of the frontal lobe near the forehead to “get” the humor; the supplementary motor area for smiling / laughing muscle movements; nucleus accumbens to elicit happiness felt after a funny experience. (Humor, Laughter, and the Brain. Brain Briefings, December 2001.)

Study using EEG topographical brain mapping of an individual hearing a joke: left hemisphere began to process the words. Then the frontal lobe center of emotionality was activated. 120 milliseconds later the right hemisphere began processing the pattern. A few milliseconds later the occipital lobe showed increased activity. Delta waves increased, the brain got the joke, and laughter erupted. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology. p 6-7. (interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk). Humor & Health Letter, Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec 1994, MS: Dunn.)

EEG Studies of brain activity when subject laughed: Within four-tenths of a second of exposure to something potentially funny, an electrical wave moved through the cerebral cortex. If the wave took a negative charge, laughter resulted. (Brain, Marshall. How Laughter Works.)

Study: Laughter resulted when a small 2 cm by 2 cm area on the subject’s left superior frontal gyrus (part of the left frontal lobe) was stimulated. (What’s so Funny and Why: Laughter and the Brain.)

Describes step by step what happens in the brain to trigger laughter. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. (Humor and Laughter: Health Benefits and Online Sources.)

Study using EEG topographical brain mapping of an individual hearing a joke: left hemisphere began to process the words. Then the frontal lobe center of emotionality was activated. 120 milliseconds later the right hemisphere began processing the pattern. A few milliseconds later the occipital lobe showed increased activity. Delta waves increased, the brain got the joke, and laughter erupted. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology. p 6-7. (interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk). Humor & Health Letter, Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec 1994, MS: Dunn.)

Under acute stress, the two hemispheres of the brain become disconnected. Laughter improves creativity and problem-solving, and activates the limbic system in the brain, connecting the right and left sides. It helps you do more whole brain work. (O’Donnell, Sinara Stull. Laugh More at Work To Ease Office Stress.)

Studies:

  • The left hemisphere analyzed the words and structure of the joke
  • The right hemisphere carried out the intellectual analysis required to "get" the joke

(Brian, Marshall. How Laughter Works.)

The effective use of humor can help to prevent burnout, especially in healthcare providers and among caregivers. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.)

A vigorous laugh burns calories (e.g., as many calories per hour as brisk walking or cycling). (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. p 217. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Studies at Vanderbilt University: Laughter can speed up your metabolism. Laughing for 10-15 minutes a day can burn up to 50 calories (as many as are in a medium chocolate bar), which amounts to 4.4 pounds a year. The scientists measured participants' energy as they laughed at 10-minute comedy clips versus their resting energy rates. (Leeming, Chris. Laugh Your Way to Leaness.)

Laughter (e.g., the total workout) can use as many calories per hour as are expended in brisk walking. (Sobel, David S., and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 49-59. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

Scientifically established benefits: enhances respiration, combats carbon dioxide levels in the blood, good exercise for muscles/internal organs, decreases inflammation (lowers sedimentation rate), and offers an excellent coping mechanism. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 542-548. Press, 1992.)

Twenty seconds of laughter can double heart rates for 3-5 minutes. This provides an inner workout for body organs. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Research William Fry Jr., PhD: 20 seconds of hard laughter gives the heart the same beneficial workout as three minutes of hard rowing. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 197. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Laughter has been shown to increase endorphin levels, stimulate immune function, reduce cortisol, stimulate circulation, massage internal organs, and have positive effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. (Lubbe, Francois. UK Editor for The Healthier Life. Laughter has Potential Medical Benefits.)

Studies by Michael Miller, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center: 19 out of 20 Volunteers who watched the jolly film King Pin had an average increase in blood flow of 22%. 14 of 20 volunteers who watched the dramatic Saving Private Ryan showed an astonishing 35% decrease in blood flow. (Fawcett, Carole. Stress Management Consultant/Laughter Coach. Laughter Facts. )

Laughter: reduces serum cortical (a hormone released during the stress response), increases immunoglobulin A (antibody that helps fight upper respiratory disease), increases tolerance to pain, and increases heart rate, pulse rate, and juggles the internal organs. (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

Research by Barb Fisher, University of Minnesota: 20 seconds of a good, hard belly laugh is worth three minutes on the rowing machine. Other benefits include: stress reduction, enhanced immune system, strengthened cardiovascular functions, increased oxygenation, improved muscle tone, and helps with digestion and constipation. (Brown, Tata Nicole, managing editor. Holistic Times, Vol 15, No 4, p 27. (Clayton College of Natural Health).

Studies by Dr. William Fry, Jr., Dr. Lee S. Berk, Dr. David C. McClelland, Dr. Kathleen M. Dillon, etc.: 20 seconds of laughter can double the heart rate for 3-5 minutes (equal to 3 minutes of strenuous rowing); enhances immune system function; increases levels of salivary IgA. (Cousins, Norman, MD (honorary). Head First. 130-140.NY: Penguin Books, 1989.)

Studies: distressing emotions (e.g., depression, anger, anxiety, and stress) are all related to heart disease. Humor directly changes distressing emotions so it may reduce the risk of heart disease. (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor? American Association for Therapeutic Humor Newsletter, November, 1998)

Study at the University of Maryland Medical Center: people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. (Science of Laughter. Discovery Health.)

Increase the level of humor in your life, both humor you initiate (e.g., attend comedic plays and movies, read humorous books, be around funny people), and humor you react to (e.g., let yourself belly-laugh). (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 274. Bard Press, 2000.)

The idea of laughter clubs is the brainchild of Dr. Madan Kataria (a medical doctor in India and editor of Your Own Doctor and Mera Doctor) and his wife. He began the first one on March 13, 1995 and says the ideal time to start a laughing session is between 6a.m. and 7 a.m. (Wilson, Steve, MA CSP. Mumbai: Home of Laughter Clubs and World Laughter Day.)

Laughter is the most enjoyable form of human communication. Humans are the only animals able to appreciate all the shadings of humor; it integrates the limbic system with the frontal lobes. (Donahue, Phil. The Human Animal. p 331-334. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1985, 1986.)

Laughter can be subcategorised into various groupings depending upon the extent and pitch of the laughter: giggles, chortles, chuckles, hoots, cackles, sniggers, and guffaws are all types of laughter. Smiling is a mild silent form of laughing.

Smiles are the most contagious of all emotional signals. Also describes how laughter is contagious, as well, and how it demonstrates the open loop limbic system. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 6-8. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002)

Laughter is contagious. The human brain contains detectors that respond to laughter by triggering other neural circuits in the brain that generate more laughter. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men web site.)

Laughter is contagious; often laughter alone will provoke laughter from others. THis may have formed the basis for the development of "laugh tracks."

A good sustained belly laugh results in a rise in endorphin production and a decrease in adrenaline and cortisol. (O’Brien, Mary, MD. Successful Aging. p 152-153. CA:Biomed General. 2007.)

Psychoneuroimmunology studies the interactions between the brain and the immune system (e.g., 60 minutes of watching a “Gallagher” comedic video caused reductions in the levels of: cortisol and catecholamines. (What’s so Funny and Why: Laughter and the Brain.)

Laughter has been shown to increase endorphin levels, stimulate immune function, reduce cortisol, stimulate circulation, massage internal organs, and have positive effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. (Lubbe, Francois. UK Editor for The Healthier Life. Laughter has Potential Medical Benefits.)

Study of watching a 60-minute humorous video: Mirthful laughter experience appears to reduce serum levels of cortisol, dopac, epinephrine, and growth hormone. These biochemical changes have implications for the reversal of the neuroendocrine and classical stress hormone response. (Berk, L. S., PhD., et al. Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laughter. Am J Med Science. Dec; 298(6):390-6, 1989.)

Study: Just the anticipation of mirthful laughter reduced the levels of three detrimental stress hormones. Cortisol (termed the steroid stress hormone), epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and dopac, (the major catabolite of dopamine), were reduced 39, 70 and 38%, respectively (statistically significant compared to the control group). (Laughter Remains Good Medicine. 2009.)

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones such as:

  • Cortisol : the primary hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the blood stream
  • Ephinephrine (Adrenaline) : increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies
  • Dopamin : is involved in the “fight or flight response” and associated with elevated blood pressure

(Ayasrah, Najla'a. Stress Relief By Laughter.)

Study of watching a 60-minute humorous video: Mirthful laughter experience appears to reduce serum levels of cortisol, dopac, and epinephrine. These biochemical changes have implications for the reversal of the neuroendocrine and classical stress hormone response. (Berk, L. S., PhD., et al. Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laughter. Am J Med Science. Dec; 298(6):390-6, 1989.)

Humor can be very important to creativity. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 368. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Humor releases tension, can increase creativity, and can lead to perceptual flexibility. The concepts of creativity and change are closely related to each other, as well as to humor and learning. Humor seems to increase the a ility to think creatively. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78, 91. CE Express.)

Refer to Creativity and the Brain for additional information.

Individuals who are dying appreciate the use of humor. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.); Hearth, K. A. Humor’s role in terminal illness. In K. Buxman & A. Lemoine (Eds.), Nursing Perspectives on Humor. Staten Island, NY: Power Publications, 1995.)

A study in hospice settings showed that humor was more often initiated by the patient than by the nurse. Humor helped patients explore new coping skills, ways of looking at their situation, and gaining some element of control. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78-79. CE Express.)

Individuals who are dying still want to be part of life for a long as they can. Humor is natur’e way of providing a perspective on a situation and allowing individuals to rise above it. (Klein, A. The Healing Power of Humor. CA”J.p. Tarcher, 1989. The Courage to Laugh: Humor, Hope, and Healing in the Face of Dying. NY:J.p. Tarcher/p:utnam, 1998. How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This? Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, 2001)

Unfortunately, the American cultural view that death is a negative experience to be fears, makes the use of humor during death and dying uncommon. Humor can help individuals who are dying feel “like a real person again.” (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78-79. CE Express.)

One’s ability to negotiate and to make decisions is enhanced if he/she has a good sense of humor. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 546-547. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Humor depends largely on the unexpected, on novelty. This tends to increase levels of the chemical dopamine in the brain. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. Why We Love. p 205. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004.

Humor is a diffuse function that engages both hemispheres of the brain. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. p 36-38. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

Humor is the experience of incongruity. Composed of three elements: wit (cognitive experience), mirth (emotional experience), and laughter (physiological experience). You do not need to laugh to experience humor. Less research on humor as compared to laughter. (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

The 3WD model of humor, validated by several countries including the United States, involves a stimulus (e.g., joke) and a response (e.g., amused or not amused). Outlines six dimensions of humor appreciation. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 168-170. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.

Laughter is the biological reaction of humans to moments or occasions of perceived humor: an outward expression of amusement. Laughter can be subcategorised into various groupings depending upon the extent and pitch of the laughter: giggles, chortles, chuckles, hoots, cackles, sniggers and guffaws are all types of laughter. Smiling is a mild silent form of laughing. Some studies indicate that laughter differs depending upon the gender of the laughing person: women tend to laugh in a more "sing-song" way, while men more often grunt or snort. Babies start to laugh at about four months of age. The relaxation of tension we feel after laughing may help inhibit the fight-or-flight response, making laughter a behavioral sign of trust in one's companions. Laughter is contagious; often laughter alone will provoke laughter from others.

Laughter is an explosive sound. To laugh is to make sounds that show mirth, joy, or scorn. (Webster’s New Encyclopedic Dictionary. p 566. NY: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc., 1993.)

Laughter is a form of celebration: of the unusual, irregular, indecorous, illogical, nonsensical, and unconventional. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. p 217-219. Healthy Pleasures. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Laughter is remarkably variable and may be better thought of as a broad class of sounds with relatively distinct subtypes, each of which may function somewhat differently in a social interaction. (Bachorowsk, Jo-Anne I, PhD, and Michael J. Owren, PhD. Laughing Matters. Psychological Science Agenda, Volume 18: No. 9, September 2004.)

People tend to laugh when there is incongruity between what actually happens and what they expected to happen--unless the outcome causes fear. (Greenfield, Susan A., Con. Ed. Brain Power. p 159-160. MA: The Ivy Press Limited, 1999.)

Humor and laughter can reduce stress, depression, and reduce one’s risk for hypertension, heart attacks, and stroke. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist, of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, has paired with Stanley Tan, MD, PhD an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Oak Crest Health Research Institute, Loma Linda, CA, to examine the effect of “mirthful laughter” on individuals with diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic syndrome characterized by the risk of heart attack, blindness and other neurological, immune and blood vessel complications. They found that mirthful laughter, as a preventive adjunct therapy in diabetes care, raised good cholesterol and lowered inflammation. (Laughter Remains Good Medicine, 2009. )

Benefits include stress reducer, improving performance, enhancing self-esteem, promoting creativity, strengthening the immune system, improving ability to negotiate and make decisions, increases breathing rate, clears mucus from lungs, increases oxygen delivered to cells, stimulates enzymes that function as natural laxatives, and improves digestion. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Humor/laughter can stabilize blood pressure, massage inner organs, strengthen immune system function, improve digestion, and may help you live longer. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104-105. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

States that a well-developed sense of humor is a characteristic of most genuinely altruistic and socially conscious individuals. It involves multidimensional understanding and perception. Quotes Mark Twain: Show me a man who knows what’s funny, and I’ll show you a man who knows what’s not. (Miller, Lawrence, PhD. Inner Natures. p 151-152. NY: Ballantine Books, 1990.)

The physical benefits derived through laughter can last for up to 2 hours after you stop laughing. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter and a humor can ease psychological pain and relieve emotional stress. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Tears (from laughing or crying) contain encephalin, a natural internal tranquilizer that helps to relieve pain. 60-62 Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.

Learning to laugh again may be essential for emotional coping following a disaster situation. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 84-85. CE Express.)

Physical benefits of laughter can remain for up to two hours once you have stopped laughing. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Quotes Dr. Herbert Benson: Humor and laughter are effective medicines in combating negativity and they can have a beneficial effect on one’s physical health. (Shaevitz, Marjorie Hansen. The Confident Woman. p 184-185. NY: Harmony Books, 1999.)

Describes benefits of laughter (e.g., relaxes muscles, stimulates production of “feel-good” brain chemicals, increases blood flow to the peripheries). Anger and hostility can reverse these positive changes. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Exploring Consciousness. p 199. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

Provides examples of the immediate positive effects on the body and on states of mind. (Gilbert, Gary, MD. Is a Merry Heart like a Placebo? WA: Spectrum, Vol 26, No. 4, p 36-43. January 1998.)

Laughter is a tranquilizer that has no negative side effects. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 125. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

People who are surrounded by many happy people are more likely to be happy in the future than those who are surrounded by unhappy people. One person’s happiness can spread outward through three degrees of separation. Those at the center of such circles may be people that you have never met, but their mood can have a profound effect on yours. (Fowler, James, PhD., associate professor of political science, UCSD and Rosemary Blieszner, PhD., professor of human development, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2008, http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/being-happy-affects-even-those-you-dont-know.htm)

Laughter helps release emotion and tension. People often store emotions rather than express them if something angers, frightens, saddens, stresses, or bores them. Laughter is a way for emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, fright, boredom) to find a way out harmlessly. (Bartekian, Vatche.  Laughter Can Cure What Ails You.  http://www.askmen.com/money/body_and_mind/19_better_living.html)

Panic is a common characteristic of serious illness. Suggests that laughter can be used to replace panic. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Mind. p 158-159. NY: Bantam Books, 1988.)

Describes benefits of laughter (e.g., relaxes muscles, stimulates production of “feel-good” brain chemicals, increases blood flow to the peripheries). Anger and hostility can reverse these positive changes. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Exploring Consciousness. p 199. CA: University of California Press, 1998.)

A good sustained belly laugh results in a rise in endorphin production and a decrease in adrenaline and cortisol. (O’Brien, Mary, MD. Successful Aging. p 152-153. CA:Biomed General. 2007.)

Studies: laughter releases endorphins and boosts serotonin levels, triggering a feeling of well-being that encourages emotional and physical healing. Fifteen seconds of hearty laughter equals about three minutes on the rowing machine. (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Laughter Really is Good Medicine.)

Laughter has been shown to increase endorphin levels, stimulate immune function, reduce cortisol, stimulate circulation, massage internal organs, and have positive effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. (Lubbe, Francois. UK Editor for The Healthier Life. Laughter has Potential Medical Benefits.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, as well as increasing natural killer cells that can fight diseases from colds to cancer. (Beck, Martha, PhD. The Joy Diet. p 154-156. NY: Crown Publishers, 2003.)

Laughter stimulates the pituitary gland that triggers the release of endorphins, some of which can remain in the body for 12 hours, producing an ongoing natural high. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Both crying and laughing trigger the release of endorphins (e.g., natural internal chemicals similar to heroin and morphine) into the bloodstream. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p 60-62. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

Laughter reduces pain by releasing endorphins that are more potent than equivalent amounts of morphine. (Gallozzi, Chuck. Benefits of Laughter. )

100 laughs equal the energy expended in 10 minutes of rowing. Laughter can increase healing and relieve pain. (Edell, Dean, MD. Eat, Drink & Be Merry. p 128-129. NY: HarperCollins, 1999.)

Research: Laughter is one of the best ways to discharge constricted emotional energy. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 196-197. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Refer to Energy and the Brain for additional information.

Research by Barb Fisher, University of Minnesota: 20 seconds of a good, hard belly laugh is worth three minutes on the rowing machine. Other benefits include: stress reduction, enhanced immune system, strengthened cardiovascular functions, increased oxygenation, improved muscle tone, and helps with digestion and constipation. (Brown, Tata Nicole, managing editor. (Holistic Times, Vol 15, No 4, p 27. Clayton College of Natural Health, Alabama.)

Humor model: people who are high in extraversion usually prefer nonsense and sexual humor; those who are low in extraversion (e.g., more toward introversion) tend to prefer incongruity resolution humor. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 169. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Fifteen facial muscles contract during laughter, and there is electrical stimulation of the major muscle of the mouth in particular. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You.)

While a person can feign a smile, it is more difficult to do so with laughter since laughter involves involuntary systems. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 12. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)

When you fake a chuckle your body reacts as if you had expressed a sincere laugh. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p. 108. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Pretend to be full of fun and laughter even if you don’t feel like that at the moment. Go through the motions at first and you’ll get there. You can learn to develop your funny bone. (Padus, Emrika, et al. Editor. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 544-547. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Ultrasound shows fetus making facial movements that resemble smiling. (Imrdkl, A Smiling Fetus is a Happy Fetus. (Source)

The relaxation of tension felt after laughing may help inhibit the fight-or-flight response, making laughter a behavioral sign of trust in one's companions. Laughter is contagious; often laughter alone will provoke laughter from others.

Gelotology is the physiological study of laughter. Study: Laughter resulted when a small 2 cm by 2 cm area on the subject’s left superior frontal gyrus (part of the left frontal lobe) was stimulated. (What’s so Funny and Why: Laughter and the Brain.)

Some studies indicate that laughter differs depending upon the gender of the laughing person: women tend to laugh in a more "sing-song" way, while men more often grunt or snort. Babies start to laugh at about four months of age. (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Laughter)

Humor builds comradery among men and can ease relationship tensions. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Males try harder to be funny than women do. Females may not be trained to be funny. Study involving group therapy sessions: men were five times more likely to be funny as compared to women. (Stump, Jane Barr, Ph.D. What’s the Difference? p. 82. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Brain scans: men laugh more at things that stimulate the right hemisphere; women laugh more at things that stimulate the left hemisphere. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p. 58-60. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

fMRI study cartoons: Females activated the left prefrontal cortex more than males, suggesting a greater degree of executive processing and language-based decoding; exhibited greater activation of mesolimbic regions, including the nucleus accumbens, implying greater reward network response and possibly less reward expectation. These results indicate sex-specific differences in neural response to humor. (Azim, Eiman, et al. Sex differences in brain activation elicited by humor. Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5719.)

Men and women differ distinctly in their use an appreciation of humor. Self-ridicule (subjective reality) is the basis of most humor used by women and may be one of the most significant differences between how men and women use humor. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Males and females do not laugh at the same things and become upset by different things. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p. 172. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

fMRI Study: women activated the parts of the brain involved in language processing and working memory more than men when viewing funny cartoons. Women were also more likely to activate with greater intensity the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings in response to new experiences. (Gender affects the way a person's brain responds to humor. Medical Studies / Trials. Published: Monday, 14-Nov-2005. Original source: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/november9/med-humor-110905.html)

The average speaker laughs 46% more than the audience: woman laugh 12% more than their male audiences; males laugh 7% less than their female audiences. Conclusion: males tend to be humor producers, women to be laughers. (Howard, Pierce, J., Ph.D. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 174. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Study: both males and females prefer male comedians. (Stump, Jane Barr, Ph.D. What’s the Difference? p 51. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Study: college males found all jokes much funnier than the women did, and gave them higher ratings. College females: were not amused by the poorer jokes but rated the really funny ones higher than the men did. Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 153. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.

Study: Men used humor far more often than women. Males were responsible for 99 of the total 103 instances. Men tend to tell more jokes than women and women tend to laugh more at them. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. p 75-80. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1978.)

Males: prefer sexual, word-play, and ethnic jokes more than females do.

Females: like absurd and silly jokes better than males do. Hostile jokes are liked equally. (Stump, Jane Barr, Ph.D. What’s the Difference? p 110-111. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Study: college males found all jokes much funnier than the women did, and gave them higher ratings. College females: were not amused by the poorer jokes but rated the really funny ones higher than the men did. Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 153. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.

Study: Men used humor far more often than women. Males were responsible for 99 of the total 103 instances. Men tend to tell more jokes than women and women tend to laugh more at them. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. p 75-80. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1978.)

Men tend to appreciate silly/slapstick humor more than women who tend to have a dry sense of humor. Males are more likely to laugh at jokes at another’s expense; females are more likely to laugh at jokes at their own expense. (Howard, Pierce, J., Ph.D. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 170-175. Bard Press, 2000.)

fMRI Study: women activated the parts of the brain involved in language processing and working memory more than men when viewing funny cartoons. Women were also more likely to activate with greater intensity the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings in response to new experiences. (Gender affects the way a person's brain responds to humor. Medical Studies / Trials. Published: Monday, 14-Nov-2005. Original source: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/november9/med-humor-110905.html)

The average speaker laughs 46% more than the audience: woman laugh 12% more than their male audiences; males laugh 7% less than their female audiences. Conclusion: males tend to be humor producers, women to be laughers. (Howard, Pierce, J., Ph.D. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 174. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Study: both males and females prefer male comedians. (Stump, Jane Barr, Ph.D. What’s the Difference? p 51. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Women smile more than men do (e.g., in social situations, when alone). Female social smiling begins in infancy. It tends to increase as women age. (Fisher, Helen, Ph.D. The First Sex. p 97-98. NY: Random House, 1999.)

Reports on four ingredients of hardiness as outlined by Norman Cousins: Positive expectations, relaxation techniques, positive emotions (e.g., maintaining a sense of humor and joy), active versus passive role. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 385. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Galen was a Greek physician practicing in Rome (A.D. 129-199). He used laughter to treat the sick wife of a Roman aristocrat and she recovered. This is the first recorded incidence of using psychiatric treatment to help heal an illness. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104-105. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

People often cry for us but it may be equally important to healing that they learn to laugh more often with us. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 196-197. CA: Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

To be healing, humor and laughter must be positive and build up (avoid sarcasm and cynicism). Why you laugh may be as important as how you laugh. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 544-547. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Tells the story of Norman Cousins (author of Anatomy of an Illness) who postulated that laughter had triggered a release of endorphins, elevated his mood, and brought about total remission of his disease. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 167. NY, Scribner, 1997.)

Laughter heals. It can insert healing perspectives in the presence of pain. It can diminish denial and undermines self-pity and self-destructiveness. (Viscott, David. MD. Emotional Resilience. p 47-48. NY: Crown Publishers Inc., 1996.)

Lists sources of studies related to the benefits of humor and laughter. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 328-330. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

According to Dr. Herbert Benson, humor and laughter are effective medicines in combating negativity and they can have a beneficial effect on one’s physical health. (184-185Shaevitz, Marjorie Hansen. The Confident Woman. p 184-185. NY: Harmony Books, 1999.)

There is no linear, invariable relationship between humor and health. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 143. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.

Humor/laughter can help to strengthen the immune system, aid memory, help prevent illness and disease, and anesthetize the body. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p 60-62. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

Norman Cousins, former editor in chief of Saturday Review: published an article about his illness and the benefits of laughter and wrote a book. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Mind. p. 158-159. NY: Bantam Books, 1988.)

Healthful humor stimulates wit, mirth, or laughter and creates closeness and intimacy (e.g., pokes fun at oneself and situations). Hurtful humor creates pain and distance and pokes fun at others (e.g., sarcasm, put down, ethnic jokes). (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

Humor can provide many benefits when health has failed, including:

  • Helps individuals step back from their illnesses and gain perspective
  • Triggers smiles, lifts the spirit, and speeds recovery
  • Insulates against fear and loneliness and involves others in the conversation
  • Is a sign of caring, compassion, connection, and approval
  • Helps to validate that although a person may be seriously ill at the moment, he/she is alive

(Gascon, D. Illness is a laughing matter; Humor for your Health. 2003.)

Summary of findings related to therapeutic benefits of laughter:

  1. Activates and strenghtens the immune system
  2. Reduces at least four hormones associated with stress
  3. Provides aerobic workout and increases body's ability to use oxygen
  4. Relaxes the muscles
  5. Can significantly reduce pain for long periods of time
  6. Lowers blood pressure and can prevent hypertension
  7. Improves respiration by emptying lungs of air they take in
  8. Has no negative side effects for most people
  9. Is free and available anywhere without a prescription 

(Urban, Hal. Positive Words, Powerful Result. p 105-115. NY: Fireside Book, 2004).

Laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity. In addition, laughter boosts secretion of growth hormone, an enhancer of these same key immune responses. The physiological effects of a single 1-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12-24 hours in some individuals. (Expectation of Laughter Boosts Endorphins 27% and Human Growth Hormone 87%.)

Studies: Two hormones, beta-endorphins (the family of chemicals that elevates mood state) and human growth hormone (HGH, which helps with optimizing immunity), increased by 27% and 87% respectively in study subjects who anticipated watching a humorous video. There was no such increase among the control group who did not anticipate watching the humorous film. The physiological effects of a single 1-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12-24 hours in some individuals."

Laughter increased two hormones:

  1. Human growth hormone (HGS): which helps with immunity.
  2. Beta-endorphins: the family of chemicals that alleviates depression.

(Stress Relief By Laughter.)

Studies by Dr. Berk of Loma Linda University: Beta-Endorphin and Human Growth Hormone increase are associated with both the anticipation and experience of mirthful laughter. (Berk, Lee S. PhD. Paper presented in an American Physiological Society session at Experimental Biology, 2006.

Laughter is great medicine, and it's fantastic for generating HGH. ((Human Growth Hormone) and Anti-aging Products Scams Exposed.)

The five rights of humor include the right:

  • Patient
  • Type
  • Time
  • Amount
  • Route or form

(Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 77. CE Express. http://www.westernschools.com/ceexpress)

Three levels of humor:

  • Sarcasm / cynicism (destructive)
  • Puns (positive qualities)
  • Cosmic (positive appreciation of the absurdities and paradoxes of life).

(Padus, Emrika, et al. Editor. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 544-547. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Four Types of humor:

  • Cognitive humor – sophisticated and/or off-the-wall; not usually offensive
  • Conative humor – people’s misfortune (usually of others); slapstick
  • Affective humor – racial, cultural, ethnic, and smutty jokes.
  • Orectic humor – combines cognitive and affective types and is more likely to be appreciated by males and extroverted females.

(Viegas, Jennifer. Nurture, Not Nature: Study Says Environment, Not Genetics, Defines Sense of Humor. http://facstaff.uww.edu/mohanp/twinhumor.html)

A sense of humor connects you with your heart. By developing that sense you can heal your own heart. When you laugh and say “I get it,” it is an announcement that you have recovered a cellular memory of our common suffering amidst the chaos. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 198-200. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.

A healthy sense of humor is related to being able to laugh at oneself and one’s life. Laughing at oneself can be a way of accepting and respecting oneself. Lack of a sense of humor is directly related to lower self-esteem. (Humor and Laughter: Health Benefits and Online Sources. http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm)

A sense of humor, what people tend to find funny (and it is very individual) is triggered by a mismatch between what they are expecting to happen and what actually happens. (Sobel, David S., and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 49-59. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

Humor is all around you. Be on the lookout for it. It's always worth sharing so become a "funny finder." (Urban, Hal. Positive Words, Powerful Result. p 105-115. NY: Fireside Book, 2004).

Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during and following the humor-associated eustress of laughter may provide beneficial health effects for wellness and a complementary adjunct to whole-person integrative medicine therapies. (Berk, Lee S., PhD., et al. Modulation of Neuroimmune Parameters During the Eustress of Humor-Associated Mirthful Laughter. Alternative Therapies, March 2001, Vol. 7, No. 2)

Mirthful laughter can trigger an increase in activated T cells that had helper/suppressor receptors, an increase in the numbers of natural killer cells. There was also an increase in IgA antibodies, IgG, and IgM. Presented in an interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology Humor & Health Letter. p 2-7. Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec. MS: 1994.)

Kathleen Dillon of viewing humorous videotapes. Salivary levels of IgA were temporarily boosted after students viewed a humorous film. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD and David Sobel, MD. The Healing Brain. p 154-156. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1987.)

Humor and Laughter stimulate the production of helper T-cells (one type of cells that appears to be attacked by the AIDS virus). (McGhee, Paul E., Ph.D. Emotion: The Key to the Mind's Influence on Health.)

Humor/laughter can stabilize blood pressure, massage inner organs, strengthen immune system function, improve digestion, and may help you live longer. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104-105. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Outlines benefits including strengthening the immune system, helping with stress and pain management, increasing lung ventilation, lowers blood pressure, and is good preventive medicine. (Neylsen-Cannarella, Sandra L., PhD. The Immunology of Humor. Vol 26, No. 4, p. 28-34. January. WA: Spectrum, 1998.)

Studies: boosts production of immune enhancers, decreases production of stress hormones (e.g., raises IgA levels, lowers levels of cortisol, increases levels of natural killer cells, may help to combat specific diseases). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. Eustress or good stress is created by laughter. An aerobic exercise, laughter can trigger an:

  • Increase in T Cell activity
  • Increase in IgB that helps antibodies attack dysfunctional/infected cells.
  • Increase in natural killer cells

(Fawcett, Carole., Stress Management Consultant/Laughter Coach. Laughter Facts.)

Study: participants who watched a funny film had temporarily boosted immune system function. “We need to laugh often.” (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. p 28. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Mirthful laughter can increase: natural killer cells, T-cells, B-cells (make antibodies) and Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), It increases the concentration of immunoglobulin A in the saliva, and brings balance to all the components of the immune system. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men website.)

Cousins, Norman Extensive research on laughter therapy began after the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by Norman Cousins in 1976. Later, in 1979, this article became the first chapter of his book, Anatomy of an Illness. In it he explained how he was diagnosed in 1964 with ankylosing spondylitis (auto-immune condition) and the benefits to him of laughter. Gallozzi, Chuck. Benefits of Laughter.

Humor and Laughter increase level and activity of natural killer cells, reduce pain, lower levels of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, dopac) in the blood, and temporarily lower blood pressure. (McGhee, Paul E., Ph.D. The Physical Health Benefits.)

Laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity. In addition, laughter boosts secretion of growth hormone, an enhancer of these same key immune responses. The physiological effects of a single 1-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12-24 hours in some individuals. (Expectation of Laughter Boosts Endorphins 27% and Human Growth Hormone 87%.

Laughter increased two hormones:

  • Human growth hormone (HGS), which helps with immunity.
  • Beta-endorphins, the family of chemicals that alleviates depression.

(Source.)

Laughter can raise levels of salivary gamma globulin IgA, increase the activity of natural killer cells, promote internal jogging, and stimulate selected cardiovascular benefits. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 136-149. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

IgA (salivary immunoglobulin type A) is higher in people with a stronger sense of humor, in those who are experiencing positive emotions, and in those who are experiencing love. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 273-274. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Refer to the Immune System and the Brain for additional information.

Inflammation Studies by Lee S. Berk, PhD, Loma Linda University in California: laughter can reduce the sedimentation rate (a measure of inflammation), increase number of immune cells, increase endorphins, increase IgA salivary concentrations, enhance respiration, and decrease cortisol. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 170-172. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Areas in the right temporal lobe (right neocortex) interpret metaphor and "get" jokes. It understands what Freud called the "primary process," the language of the unconscious, the language of poems, art, and myth. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-28. MA:More Than Sound, 2011)

Study using EEG topographical brain mapping of an individual hearing a joke: left hemisphere began to process the words. Then the frontal lobe center of emotionality was activated. 120 milliseconds later the right hemisphere began processing the pattern. A few milliseconds later the occipital lobe showed increased activity. Delta waves increased, the brain got the joke, and laughter erupted. (Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology. p 6-7. (interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk). Humor & Health Letter, Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec 1994, MS: Dunn.)

Study: college males found all jokes much funnier than the women did, and gave them higher ratings. College females: were not amused by the poorer jokes but rated the really funny ones higher than the men did. Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 153. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.

Study: Men used humor far more often than women. Males were responsible for 99 of the total 103 instances. Men tend to tell more jokes than women and women tend to laugh more at them. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. p 75-80. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1978.)

Males prefer sexual, word-play, and ethnic jokes more than females do. Females like absurd and silly jokes better than males do. Hostile jokes are liked equally. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 110-111. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Study: college males found all jokes much funnier than the women did, and gave them higher ratings. College females: were not amused by the poorer jokes but rated the really funny ones higher than the men did. Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 153. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.

Study: Men used humor far more often than women. Males were responsible for 99 of the total 103 instances. Men tend to tell more jokes than women and women tend to laugh more at them. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. p 75-80. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1978.)

Men tend to appreciate silly/slapstick humor more than women who tend to have a dry sense of humor. Males are more likely to laugh at jokes at another’s expense; females are more likely to laugh at jokes at their own expense. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 170-175. Bard Press, 2000.)

Laughter can relieve stress as well as relaxation can. Jokes about life can be healing; jokes that put down groups of people are not. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 162. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

Most laughter has nothing to do with jokes, concludes researcher and humorous speaker, Prof. Robert Provine. For years he has studied laughter, humorous speaking and humorous speakers and what provokes it. Some of Provine's conclusions: *Less than 20% of laughter was in response to anything resembling a joke. (Dvorak, Doug. How to Use Humor and Laughter as a Coping Mechanism for Stress.)

Laughter Yoga was developed by a Western trained physician, Madan Kataria MD and his wife Madhuri Kataria, in Mumbai, India in 1995. Laughter Yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh for no reason (e.g., without relying on humor, jokes, or comedy) in order to obtain the scientifically proven health benefits of laughter. Yoga means to yoike or unite. LY combines elements from Pranayama deep breathing (to deepen the impact), stretching, and laughter excercises that cultivate child-like playfulness. There are now more than 6,000 LY groups in over 68 countries around the world--and growing. (Kataria, Madan, MD. Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training Manual. India, 2010 edition.)

Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago: patients are learning laughter yoga and are literally forcing themselves to laugh. For more for more information on Laughter Therapy and clubs: Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch 1-800-446-1234. (Perez, Sylvia. A Laughing Matter.)

Study of outstanding leaders: they got the interviewer to laugh with them twice as often as average/less effective leaders; used humorous comments three times more frequently (e.g., once every 4 minutes); used humor to reduce stress and positively impact their interactions. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 34-35. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)

Laughter is typically a sign that healthy and valuable learning (emotional as well as intellectual) has just occurred. (Siebert, Al, PhD. The Survivor Personality. p 21-24. NY: A Perigee Book, 1996.)

Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. (Humor and Laughter: Health Benefits and Online Sources.)

John Cleese, English comedian: the Dalai Lama told him that laughter is good for thinking because “when people laugh, it is easier for them to admit new ideas to their minds.” (Baldoni, John. Laughter as Learning. Monthly Web site column, 1998.

Levity in the virtual classroom can significantly boost student interest and participation. Humor is a social lubricant that can facilitate interactions and make the learning process more enjoyable. (Gibson, Andrea. Learning New Study Supports Use of Humor in Online Courses. May, 2005.)

Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. (Science of Laughter. Discovery Health.)

The use of humor by instructors helps to create an enjoyable classroom environment where students are less anxious and more willing to participate in class. (Clouse, R. Wilburn, PhD, Vanderbilt University. Source.)

Humor can be used to break down barriers to communication so that professors can better connect and deliver their messages to students and other audiences. (Berk, Ronald A., PhD. Professors are from Mars, Students are from Snickers.)

Humor can lead to perceptual flexibility. The concepts of creativity and change are closely related to each other, as well as to humor and learning. Research has dhown increased retention of information when humor is used in teaching. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78, 91. CE Express.)

Refer to Learning and the Brain for additional information.

Some studies indicate that laughter differs depending upon the gender of the laughing person: women tend to laugh in a more "sing-song" way, while men more often grunt or snort. Babies start to laugh at about four months of age. (Source)

Humor builds comradery among men and can ease relationship tensions. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Males try harder to be funny than women do. Females may not be trained to be funny. Study involving group therapy sessions: men were five times more likely to be funny as compared to women. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p. 82. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Brain scans: men laugh more at things that stimulate the right hemisphere; women laugh more at things that stimulate the left hemisphere. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p. 58-60. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

fMRI study cartoons: Females activated the left prefrontal cortex more than males, suggesting a greater degree of executive processing and language-based decoding; exhibited greater activation of mesolimbic regions, including the nucleus accumbens, implying greater reward network response and possibly less reward expectation. These results indicate sex-specific differences in neural response to humor. (Azim, Eiman, et al. Sex differences in brain activation elicited by humor. Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5719)

Men and women differ distinctly in their use an appreciation of humor. Self-ridicule (subjective reality) is the basis of most humor used by women and may be one of the most significant differences between how men and women use humor. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Males and females do not laugh at the same things and becomes upset by different things. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p. 172. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

fMRI Study: women activated the parts of the brain involved in language processing and working memory more than men when viewing funny cartoons. Women were also more likely to activate with greater intensity the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings in response to new experiences. (Gender affects the way a person's brain responds to humor. Medical Studies / Trials. Published: Monday, 14-Nov-2005.)

The average speaker laughs 46% more than the audience: woman laugh 12% more than their male audiences; males laugh 7% less than their female audiences. Conclusion: males tend to be humor producers, women to be laughers. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 174. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Study: both males and females prefer male comedians. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 51. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Study: college males found all jokes much funnier than the women did, and gave them higher ratings. College females: were not amused by the poorer jokes but rated the really funny ones higher than the men did. Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 153. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.

Study: Men used humor far more often than women. Males were responsible for 99 of the total 103 instances. Men tend to tell more jokes than women and women tend to laugh more at them. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. p 75-80. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1978.)

Males prefer sexual, word-play, and ethnic jokes more than females do. Females like absurd and silly jokes better than males do. Hostile jokes are liked equally. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 110-111. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Study: college males found all jokes much funnier than the women did, and gave them higher ratings. College females: were not amused by the poorer jokes but rated the really funny ones higher than the men did. Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 153. NY: Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1952, 1974.

Study: Men used humor far more often than women. Males were responsible for 99 of the total 103 instances. Men tend to tell more jokes than women and women tend to laugh more at them. (Eakins, Barbara Westbrook, and R. Gene Eakins. Sex Differences in Human Communication. p 75-80. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1978.)

Men tend to appreciate silly/slapstick humor more than women who tend to have a dry sense of humor. Males are more likely to laugh at jokes at another’s expense; females are more likely to laugh at jokes at their own expense. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 170-175. Bard Press, 2000.)

fMRI Study: women activated the parts of the brain involved in language processing and working memory more than men when viewing funny cartoons. Women were also more likely to activate with greater intensity the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings in response to new experiences. (Gender affects the way a person's brain responds to humor. Medical Studies / Trials. Published: Monday, 14-Nov-2005.)

The average speaker laughs 46% more than the audience: woman laugh 12% more than their male audiences; males laugh 7% less than their female audiences. Conclusion: males tend to be humor producers, women to be laughers. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 174. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Study: both males and females prefer male comedians. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 51. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Women smile more than men do (e.g., in social situations, when alone). Female social smiling begins in infancy. It tends to increase as women age. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. p 97-98. NY: Random House, 1999.)

Refer to Gender and the Brain for more information.

Describes how to do humor meditation for 5-10 minutes each day, and Aikido (how to deflect verbal aggressors with the use of humor) based on a form of Japanese self-defense. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 548-549. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Humor/laughter can help to strengthen the immune system, aid memory, help prevent illness and disease, and anesthetize the body. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p 60-62. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

Males try harder to be funny than women do. Females may not be trained to be funny. Study involving group therapy sessions: men were five times more likely to be funny as compared to women. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p. 82. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Brain scans: men laugh more at things that stimulate the right hemisphere; women laugh more at things that stimulate the left hemisphere. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes. p. 58-60. NY: Broadway Books, 2004.)

fMRI study cartoons: Females activated the left prefrontal cortex more than males, suggesting a greater degree of executive processing and language-based decoding; exhibited greater activation of mesolimbic regions, including the nucleus accumbens, implying greater reward network response and possibly less reward expectation. These results indicate sex-specific differences in neural response to humor. (Azim, Eiman, et al. Sex differences in brain activation elicited by humor. Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5719.)

Men and women differ distinctly in their use an appreciation of humor. Self-ridicule (subjective reality) is the basis of most humor used by women and may be one of the most significant differences between how men and women use humor. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Males and females do not laugh at the same things and becomes upset by different things. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p. 172. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

Woman who can interact easily with the aggressive humor of men in business are a step ahead of woman who negatively interprets these interactions. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Humor, used judiciously, can help to promote insight by resolving paradoxes, tempering aggressing, brining repressed material to consciousness, and revealing new options. It is a socially acceptable form of sublimation. Humor that leads to laughter can provide biochemical changes that can be beneficial for psychiatric patients and that can help them feel better physically. Assess patient to determine how he/she learns information best:

  • Use spoken jokes or humorous statements with auditories
  • Use written or visual humor with visuals
  • Act out the joke or humorous information with kinesthetics

Use simple cartoons (humor that requires fewer steps in understanding) when working with patients who have difficulty making decisions. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 87-90. CE Express.)

Areas in the right temporal lobe (right neocortex) interpret metaphor and "get" jokes. It understands what Freud called the "primary process," the language of the unconscious, the language of poems, art, and myth. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-28. MA:More Than Sound, 2011)

In the case of Norman Cousins, laughter was a metaphor for the full range of positive emotions: love, confidence, hope, faith, determination. This helps the mind get the most of whatever is possible. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 510-513. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Metaphor used for some qualities of humor. (Springer, Sally p., and Georg Deutsch. Left Brain, Right Brain. p 180-181. NY: W.H. Freeman and Co., 1997.)

Laughter requires at least 15 facial muscles to contract in a specific pattern, accompanied by altered breathing. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 133-149. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

Laughter involves the contraction of fifteen facial muscles plus the stimulation of the zygomatic major muscle, which is the main lifting mechanism of the upper lip. (Brain, Marshall. How Laughter Works.)

Laughter requires the coordination of many muscles throughout the body and:

  • increases blood pressure
  • increases heart rate
  • changes breathing
  • reduces levels of specific catecholamines and hormones
  • boosts the immune system.

(What’s so Funny and Why: Laughter and the Brain.)

Laughter is an all over body workout. It gives your diaphragm, respiratory, facial, leg, back, and abdominal muscles a workout. Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men website.)

Laughter is a sheer moment of pleasure. The right joke or right moment of levity can reduce tensions to the point that two adversaries can return to negotiations. Humor shatters preconceptions at the moment when people are forming new perceptions. (Baldoni, John. Laughter as Learning. Monthly Website column, 1998.)

Benefits include stress reducer, improving performance, enhancing self-esteem, promoting creativity, strengthening the immune system, improving ability to negotiate and make decisions, increases breathing rate, clears mucus from lungs, increases oxygen delivered to cells, stimulates enzymes that function as natural laxatives, and improves digestion. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Laughter tends to expand lungs and increases blood and oxygen circulation similar to the way deep breathing or exercise does. Anger and stress do the reverse. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Study by Norman Cousins: Ten minutes of genuine belly laugher had an anesthetic effect that produced at least two hours of pain-free sleep. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind Body Health. p 542-547. NY: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.)

Studies: laughter can raise pain thresholds. Reports of Norman Cousins: 10 minutes of belly laughter gave him 2 hours of pain-free sleep. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. 217-220. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Studies: laughter and humor can relieve physical and emotional pain. They stimulate the brain to release endorphins. Reports on Cousins: 10 minutes of belly laughter gave him 2 hours of pain-free sleep. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter works like anesthetic; 10 minutes of belly laughter provided Cousins with a minimum of two (2) hours of pain-free sleep. (Sobel, David S., and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 49-59. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

The ability of laughter to reduce pain is undoubtedly partly due to its reduction of muscle tension. Even brief relaxation procedures have been shown to reduce pain--both in laboratory and clinical settings. (McGee, Paul E. Humor and Health.)

100 laughs equal the energy expended in 10 minutes of rowing. Laughter can increase healing and relieve pain. (Edell, Dean, MD. Eat, Drink & Be Merry. p 128-129. NY: HarperCollins, 1999.)

Outlines benefits including strengthening the immune system, helping with stress and pain management, increasing lung ventilation, lowers blood pressure, and is good preventive medicine. (Neylsen-Cannarella, Sandra L., PhD. The Immunology of Humor. Vol 26, No. 4, p. 28-34. January. WA: Spectrum, 1998.)

Panic is a common characteristic of serious illness. Suggests that laughter can be used to replace panic. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Mind. p 158-159. NY: Bantam Books, 1988.)

People who are paranoid generally are humorless. (Miller, Lawrence, PhD. Inner Natures. Brain, Self & Personality. p 151-152. NY: Ballantine Books, 1990.)

A sense of humor helps improve performance, individual and group. It can provide a sense of power. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. 546-547. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Benefits include stress reducer, improving performance, enhancing self-esteem, promoting creativity, strengthening the immune system, improving ability to negotiate and make decisions, increases breathing rate, clears mucus from lungs, increases oxygen delivered to cells, stimulates enzymes that function as natural laxatives, and improves digestion. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Planned spontaneity is the process of building your humor repertoire so that you can access it whenever you wish to do so. (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

Serious subjects (e.g., religion, politics, sex) have a greater potential for being funny. Offers examples from medical professionals who use humor and laughter to manage high-tension situations. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 65-70. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Humor helped Vietnam prisoners of war survive abuse and torture without developing overwhelming PTSD. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.) Henman, L.D. Humor as a Coping Mechanism: Lessons from POWs. Humor, p 83-94. 2001.)

When you fake a chuckle your body reacts as if you had expressed a sincere laugh. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p. 108. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Pretend to be full of fun and laughter even if you don’t feel like that at the moment. Go through the motions at first and you’ll get there. You can learn to develop your funny bone. (Padus, Emrika, et al. Editor. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 544-547. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Laughter (at jokes) can help people solve problems that demand creative solutions (e.g., help them think more broadly and associate ideas/relationships more freely). (Goleman, Daniel Jay, PhD. Emotional Intelligence. 84-86. NY: Bantam Books, 1995.)

After viewing funny movies people were able to consider problems in new creative ways, and tended to find solutions with more innovation and ingenuity. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Health Pleasures. p 218-220. NY: Addison-Wesley, 1989.)

People need dual vision: an ability to be serious and see humor at the same time. This can help one deal with a broader range of problems. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 65-70. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Humor releases tension and gives the use a different perspective on the situation. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.)

Study: heart rates of college students while they were presenting impromptu speeches. Significantly lower rates among students who had watched an episode of “Seinfeld” beforehand. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 393. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. —James Thurber (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

Let the surgeon take care to regulate the whole regimen of the patient's life for joy and happiness, allowing his relatives and special friends to cheer him, and by having someone tell him jokes. —Henri de Mondeville (1260-1320), French surgeon. (Gallozzi, Chuck. Benefits of Laughter.)

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself. —Ethel Barrymore (Costa, Arthur L., and Bena Kallick. Finding Humor.)

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. —Dale Carnegie. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 91. CE Express.)

The immediate involuntary action of laughter forms the most direct communication link possible between people, limbic brain to limbic brain. People who relish each other’s company laugh easily and often; those who distrust/dislike each other laugh little, if at all. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 12. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)

Humor allows people to express fear, concern, or anger in a jesting manner, allowing them to “save face” if the other person does not respond kindly (e.g., I was only joking). (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.)

Hang out with people who laugh. Their company is better than prescription antidepressants! (Beck, Martha, PhD. The Joy Diet. p 166-168. NY: Crown Publishers, 2003.

Couples stay together longer (and may even be more interested in getting married) when they share a similar sense of humor. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 337. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

It is important to surround yourself with positive people, those who are joyful and laugh. (Padus, Emrika, et al. Editori. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 546-547. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Laughter occurs much more often when people are engaged in social interactions with others than when they are alone. (Martin, Rod A. White Papers. Do Children Laugh Much More Often than Adults Do?)

Healthful humor stimulates wit, mirth, or laughter and creates closeness and intimacy (e.g., pokes fun at oneself and situations). Hurtful humor creates pain and distance and pokes fun at others (e.g., sarcasm, put down, ethnic jokes). (Sultanoff, Steven, M., PhD. What is Humor?)

Studies have shown the importance of the company people keep. People who are surrounded by many happy people are more likely to be happy in the future than those who are surrounded by unhappy people. (Dotinga, Randy. Being Happy Affects Even Those You Don’t Know. US News & World Report. 2008.)

Sharing amusement creates a bond. It helps establish an equal relationship and decreases the sense of perceived hierarchy, even momentarily. There is a difference between laugh WITH someone and laughing AT someone. Humor used to laugh with someone establishes a connection between the individuals involved. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78. CE Express.)

Serious subjects (e.g., religion, politics, sex) have a greater potential for being funny. Offers examples from medical professionals who use humor and laughter to manage high-tension situations. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 65-70. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

During full-blown laughter, air can rush out of your lungs at rates of 170 miles per hour. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Benefits include stress reducer, improving performance, enhancing self-esteem, promoting creativity, strengthening the immune system, improving ability to negotiate and make decisions, increases breathing rate, clears mucus from lungs, increases oxygen delivered to cells, stimulates enzymes that function as natural laxatives, and improves digestion. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Laughter tends to expand lungs and increases blood and oxygen circulation similar to the way deep breathing or exercise does. Anger and stress do the reverse. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 104. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Laughter may lead to coughing or hiccupping and coughing. This can help to clear the respiratory tract by dislodging mucus plugs. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men web site.)

Laughter has been shown to increase endorphin levels, stimulate immune function, reduce cortisol, stimulate circulation, massage internal organs, and have positive effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. (Lubbe, Francois. UK Editor for The Healthier Life. Laughter has Potential Medical Benefits.)

Benefits include stress reducer, improving performance, enhancing self-esteem, promoting creativity, strengthening the immune system, improving ability to negotiate and make decisions, increases breathing rate, clears mucus from lungs, increases oxygen delivered to cells, stimulates enzymes that function as natural laxatives, and improves digestion. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 541-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Dr. Greg Markway: Laughing releases serotonin, increases T cells, increases endorphins and improves the immune system. (Experts Say Laughter Really is Good Medicine.)

Laughter moves lymph fluid around your body, increases oxygenation at both cellular and organ level, increases immune-boosting chemicals such as interleukins, and raises serotonin levels. (Adams, Mike. Laughter is good medicine for reducing stress, enhancing brain chemistry.)

Serious subjects (e.g., religion, politics, sex) have a greater potential for being funny. Offers examples from medical professionals who use humor and laughter to manage high-tension situations. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 65-70. PA: Rodale Press, 1992.)

Studies: laughter can raise pain thresholds. Reports of Norman Cousins: 10 minutes of belly laughter gave him 2 hours of pain-free sleep. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. p 217-219. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Children smile about 400 times a day. Adults on the other hand, don't. Only a third of adults smile more than 20 times a day. Ron Gutman (he presented a TED talk on the topic) said, "Smiling can reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while increasing mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins." (SPIRIT magazine, May 2012, page 33.)

Psychologist Paul Ekman (Human Interaction Lab at the University of California in San Francisco) says real and fake smiles have the same positive effects on brain activity, skin temperature, heart rate and respiration. (Gallozzi, Paul. Canadian writer and author of over 200 published articles on personal development. Learning to Laugh.)

SMILE (Subjective Multidimensional Interactive Laughter Evaluation): a humor profile/smile assessment developed by Lee S. Berk, PhD and Barry Bittman, MD. (Loma Linda University School of Medicine news. March 11, 1999. Laughter research conducted at LLUMC)

Women smile more than men do (e.g., in social situations, when alone). Female social smiling begins in infancy. It tends to increase as women age. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. p 97-98. NY: Random House, 1999.)

Changing facial muscles into a smile increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the secretion of positive neurotransmitters. (Sobel, David S., and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 49-56. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

Smiling is a mild silent form of laughing. (Source)

Learning to laugh again may be essential for emotional coping following a disaster situation. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 84-85. CE Express.)

Research by Barb Fisher, University of Minnesota: 20 seconds of a good, hard belly laugh is worth three minutes on the rowing machine. Other benefits include: stress reduction, enhanced immune system, strengthened cardiovascular functions, increased oxygenation, improved muscle tone, and helps with digestion and constipation. (Brown, Tata Nicole, managing editor. Holistic Times, Vol 15, No 4, p 27. (Clayton College of Natural Health). Alabama.)

Outlines benefits including strengthening the immune system, helping with stress and pain management, increasing lung ventilation, lowers blood pressure, and is good preventive medicine. (Neylsen-Cannarella, Sandra L., PhD. The Immunology of Humor. Vol 26, No. 4, p. 28-34. January. WA: Spectrum, 1998.)

Humor/laughter can decrease stress, lower blood pressure, relax muscle tension, moderate pain, and boost immune defenses. (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. p 90-92. PA: Rodale, 2003.)

Laughter appears to reduce levels of certain stress hormones (that suppress the immune system, increase platelet levels in arteries, and raise blood pressure). Laughter provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight compounds that come into play in times of stress, rage or hostility. (Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men web site.)

Research participants had lower levels of stress hormones just anticipating watching a humorous video. Those who manage stress well tend to use humor to deal with difficult situations. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. 546-547, 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like:

  • Cortisol: the primary hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the blood stream
  • Ephinephrine (Adrenaline): increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies
  • Dopamin: is involved in the “fight or flight response” and associated with elevated blood pressure

(Ayasrah, Najla'a. Stress Relief By Laughter.)

Study: moderate conditioned laughter and moderate conditioned exercise both help to create a state of eustress (desirable stress). (Presented in an interview with Dr. Lee S. Berk. Dunn, Joseph R., PhD, Ed. New Discoveries in Psychoneuroimmunology Humor & Health Letter. Vol III. No 6, Nov/Dec. MS: 1994.)

Outlines benefits including strengthening the immune system, helping with stress and pain management, increasing lung ventilation, lowers blood pressure, and is good preventive medicine. (Neylsen-Cannarella, Sandra L., PhD. The Immunology of Humor. Vol 26, No. 4, p. 28-34. January. WA: Spectrum, 1998.)

Laughter produces responses almost identical to those associated with progressive muscle relaxation, a stress-relief technique. Lists 11 strategies for using humor and laughter. Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 101-120. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Under acute stress, the two hemispheres of the brain become disconnected. Laughter improves creativity and problem-solving, and activates the limbic system in the brain, connecting the right and left sides. It helps you do more whole brain work. (O’Donnell, Sinara Stull. Laugh More at Work To Ease Office Stress. www.Careerjournal.com)

Levels of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol) were lowered after subjects watched an hour of comic entertainment. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. p 217-219. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989.)

Decreases stress-related tension, provides immediate relief from pressure, and builds up an immunity to stress in the long term. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 550-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like:

  • Cortisol : the primary hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the blood stream
  • Ephinephrine (Adrenaline): increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies
  • Dopamin: is involved in the “fight or flight response” and associated with elevated blood pressure

Source

Studies by Berk of Loma Linda University: Mirthful laughter can offset symptoms of chronic stress by diminishing secretion of cortisol and epinephrine while enhancing immune reactivity. Physiological effects of a single one-hour view of a humorous video have appeared to last up to 12-24 hours in some individuals. (http://www.bigmedicine.ca/) Reported April 3, 2006. Berk, Lee S. PhD. Paper presented in an American Physiological Society session at Experimental Biology, 2006.)

Eustress or good stress is created by laughter. An aerobic exercise, laughter can trigger an:

  • Increase in T Cell activity
  • Increase in IgB that helps antibodies attack dysfunctional/infected cells.
  • Increase in natural killer cells

(Fawcett, Carole., Stress Management Consultant/Laughter Coach. Laughter Facts.)

In their best-selling book, "The Okinawa Program," based on an ongoing study of elderly people on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Dr. Bradley J. Wilcox, Dr. Craig Wilcox, and Dr. Makoto Suzuki wrote that "during laughter, muscles throughout your body tense and relax in a way that is strikingly similar to stress-reduction techniques. Laughter keeps muscles supple as well as relaxed. It also has been shown to stimulate the immune system." (The Health Benefits of Laughter. The HeyUGLY.org website.)

Three strategies that are the very best at reducing stress: humor, smiles, and laughter. (Benson, Herbert, MD., with Marg Stark. Timeless Healing. p 277-278. NY: Scribner, 1996.)

Humor helps alleviate the effects of stress. In fact, people with a good sense of humor are less likely to get stressed to begin with. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind Body Health. p 547. NY: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.)

The use of humor can help people to get through the stress of a crisis. For example, it was reported that a group of office workers at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, managed to keep going down the last 10 flights by pretending it was New Year’s Eve and counting out loud. Encouraged by the levity, they found the energy to go on and made it safely to the street. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 83. CE Express.)

Include home. If possible, make yourself the object of the humor. If you make a mistake or use the wrong words, make light of the situation (e.g., my mouth runs faster than my brain, give me a minute until my brain catches up with my mouth). (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 95-96. CE Express.)

Emotional tears (including tears produced by laughter) contain higher concentrations of proteins and toxins (as compared to tears triggered by slicing onions); they may help the body to get rid of injurious substances. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. p 136-137. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001.)

Tears of sadness and of laughter contain proteins not present in tears from cutting onions or other eye irritations. Both types of tears can help cleanse the body of stress chemicals but sad tears tend to turn us inward and laughter tears tend to turn us outward. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 196-197. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Tears shed during crying or laughter have a similar chemical composition. Both remove toxins and hormones that are manufactured during periods of stress. (Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 555-556. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

There are compositional differences between emotional tears and tears that result from something getting into the eye. (Sobel, David S., and Robert Ornstein, MD. The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook. p 56. NY: Patient Education Media, Inc., 1996.)

Amused laughter is often perceived as non-threatening and can be disarming. Life-competent individuals often use this strategy (e.g., react like a “black-belt” would respond to an attack by a child). (Siebert, Al, PhD. The Survivor Personality. p 21-25. NY: A Perigee Book, 1996.)

Provides a dozen specific suggestions for how improving your life through the use of humor and laughter including how to create a humor survival kit. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. 559-560. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Laughter is an all over body workout. It gives your diaphragm, respiratory, facial, leg, back, and abdominal muscles a workout. Bartekian, Vatche. Laughter Can Cure What Ails You. Ask Men website.)

  • Cognitive humor – sophisticated and/or off-the-wall; not usually offensive
  • Conative humor – people’s misfortune (usually of others); slapstick
  • Affective humor – racial, cultural, ethnic, and smutty jokes.
  • Orectic humor – combines cognitive and affective types and is more likely to be appreciated by males and extroverted females.

(Viegas, Jennifer. Nurture, Not Nature: Study Says Environment, Not Genetics, Defines Sense of Humor. )

Indicates that employees who laugh together “stay together.” They tend to work better as a team, are more creative, and produce more work. (Swift, Bradford W., and Ann T. Swift. Humor Experts Jazz up the Workplace. p 72-75. HR Magazine, March 1994.)

Woman who can interact easily with the aggressive humor of men in business are a step ahead of woman who negatively interprets these interactions. (Tanenbaum, Joe. Male & Female Realities. p 152-154. NV: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1990.)

Laughter can enhance brain abilities that are necessary for doing good work. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD, with Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee. Primal Leadership. p 12. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.)

Humor helps to foster an atmosphere of teawork and may even help to reduce staff turnover. (Schwartz, Enid A., RN, MA, MC. Infusing Humor into Healthcare. p 78-79. CE Express.)

Refer to Laughter, Yoga (LY) for additional information.

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