Almost Apolitical, Everyday Epiphany, Family, Health, humor

A Laughing Matter

Santa’s coming to town soon and whether you believe or don’t believe (I fall somewhere between.) he has a message for all and it’s not what the song touts.

“You better watch out.” 

Although this advice is sound the word “better” flavors the advice with a threat.

“You better not cry.” 

Crying is cathartic. This recommendation is way too repressive. 

“You better not pout.” 

Pouting is an expression of self-pity. We’ve all been there. Just don’t STAY there.

Santa’s Questionable Profound Message

In Thai it’s “โฮ้โฮ้โฮ้.”

In Arabic it’s ” هو هو هو.”

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

In Ukrainian it’s “хо хо хо.”

In America it’s “ho-ho-ho.”

The world’s spotlight shines upon December’s darling and he uses the attention to utter three syllables-

“ho-ho-ho.” 

Really? 

As a major influencer, “ho-ho-ho” is the best “The Kringle” can do?

How about “Think peace,” or “Live green,” or “Be kind”?

As an overthinker, I overthought “ho-ho-ho,” and then I overthought “laughter.” To aid my pondering, I Googled “laughter.” After researching, I’m convinced that Papa Noel is on to something. 

Laugh And Your Whole World Laughs With You

Laughter is contagious. I didn’t need to read the bazillion research studies to know that. The sound of my granddaughter squealing while she knocked down whatever tower I built coaxed a loving guffaw from this Grammy. 

It works something like this. Grammy builds block tower. Grandbaby knocks over block tower. Thrill of rendering complete destruction upon structure elicits a deep rolling chortle. Chortle enters Grammy’s ears. Premotor cortical region of Grammy’s brain responds to positive sound. Brain prepares face muscles to smile which leads to giggle and onward to a guffaw. 

Mike hears guffawing while opening a cabernet in the kitchen. Then HIS premotor cortical region prepares HIS face muscles to smile, and so on.

I created a scientific diagram to illustrate the process.

Somehow scientists figured out that laughter in groups came before language among cave people. The shared laughter built strong bonds which helped them survive.

I don’t know how the scientists figured that out since there aren’t any cave people around to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” their theory, but I tend to believe it.

My grandbaby IS rather primitive and she’s bonding all over the place.

Good For A Laugh Or Laugh For The Good

Laughter is healthy. Heart rate increases, blood pressure lowers, and the immune system strengthens. Fifteen minutes of laughter increases the diameter of blood vessels similar to the effect of aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that you can skip the tread mill. (I know. I read that on the Internet so it HAS to be true.)

You won’t get that from a grin (too controlled) or a smirk (too fleeting). 

I’m talking “Rib tickling, can’t catch my breath, side splitting, belly laugh” moments. 

I welcome those.

However, I can do without the “pee in my pants” side effect.

Laughing Something Off

Laughter improves mental health. Endorphins run rampant, cortisol screeches to a halt, and tension shrinks. Moods improve.

Professional therapy may incorporate laughter to reap the above-mentioned benefits. There are also DIY laughter exercises. These include but not limited to swinging arms or leap frogging while uttering “ha-ha-ho-ho,” fake laughing, and argument laughing. 

I found this last one intriguing. Apparently, verbalizations during an argument are delivered in a laughter type manner. Mike and I recently quarreled about seasoning pans in the oven. (I know a high stakes disagreement.) I imagined myself saying “The oven needs to preheat to 450 degrees first” in a giggling manner. Then him responding with “Don’t you think I know that?” with a breathy titter. 

I don’t see that happening.

Horselaugh

Horses don’t laugh, but other animals do. They, too, reap benefits from laughter.

Vector illustration of a laughing horse.

Chimps laugh more when they are in a new group than when they are in an established group. Laughter eases tense situations and promotes cohesion.

Dolphins laugh when they are play fighting. This communicates to the other dolphins that they are not a threat and avoids possible confrontation.


St. Nick, The Pragmatist

Perhaps, Santa, realizes that we’re too busy tree decorating, card writing, and gift buying to listen to life advice such as think peace, live green, and be kind.

Our heads can wrap around a bullet pointed “ho-ho-ho” this time of year. Maybe, just maybe then, we’ll take this seemingly lighthearted message seriously.

Laughter creates bonds, reduces stress, promotes mental and physical health. A bonded, mentally balanced healthy population living in a less stressful world is more likely to think peace, live green, and be kind. 

Ho-ho-ho is Santa’s way of saying it.

We may not achieve world peace, but it may make your world more peaceful.

3 thoughts on “A Laughing Matter”

    1. So many great thought provoking comments! I know grandkids can really make a person laugh. Need to read again !! So much to think about!!

      Like

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