NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Feeding Your Funny Bone

Finding Your Funny Bone


            It may be the bumper sticker that catches your eye with its message of – “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.”  It may be the latest joke a dear friend texts to you.  It may be the spontaneous laughter of a child.  Each of us has our own unique funny bone. Something that causes you to burst into laughter may be only mildly amusing to another. However, we humans have one thing  in common – humans of all ages are healthier with a daily dose of Vitamin H – Humor

            Throughout history and across cultures, people have sensed the importance of humor in promoting well-being. The ancient Biblical proverb proclaims what modern science has now confirmed, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Medieval professor of surgery, Henri de Mondeville, recommended mirth as an aid to recovery from surgery. In days of old, court jesters relieved melancholy and brought merriment to royalty. More recently, a growing body of scientific evidence has underscored the physiological, mental, emotional and social advantages of humor.

            Laughter has been called “inner jogging” because an old fashioned thigh-slapper does give you an aerobic workout of sorts. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, sends surges of oxygen throughout your bloodstream, exercises the muscles of your face, shoulders, diaphragm and abdomen, and generates bursts of laughter reaching speeds as high as 70 miles an hour. While laughter itself is delightfully stimulating, its afterglow creates a temporary reduction in blood pressure, respiration, heart rate and muscle tension.

            Laughter enhances creativity and problem solving, reduces stress, eases strained relationships, and promotes mental health. It may even encourage healing, strengthen the immune system and contribute to longevity. Amid the most trying and oppressive circumstances, humor is a guardian angel that protects our sanity. While it would be foolish to think you can “ha ha” yourself out of physical illness or emotional trauma, it is clear that good humor aids health and overall well-being in many ways.

            Strengthening your sense of humor doesn’t mean that you need to tell jokes all the time. It doesn’t mean you have to be the life of the party. It does mean opening yourself to the comic relief that daily life provides. And it does mean cultivating the ability to not take yourself or life too seriously.         If you’d like to add more laughter and lightheartedness to your life, here are a few suggestions.

- Enjoy spontaneous moments of humor.  A cheerful, humorous greeting to a friend, a shared giggle with a child, all these enrich today with laughter and tomorrow with fond memories.

- Collect cartoons and jokes you enjoy from online sources, newspapers, magazines and books. Share them in person, by Facebook or by mail with friends and family members.

             - Start a “funny bones” bulletin board at home and at work. Fill them with humorous sayings, favorite cartoons and funny pictures.

            - Write down three positive occurrences that happened during the day, every night for one week. Share the good news with others.



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