Last time, I left this blogpost at a point where I had discussed the science behind laughing. In this post, I want to pick up from where I left off and discuss what influences our sense of humor and what are the benefits of laughing.
Apparently, one of the important factors that decides what we actually find funny or humorous is our age. Here again, I found HowStuffWorks to be a useful resource. It seems that since children and infants start discovering the world around them, for them even elephant jokes and small concepts seem funny. The pre-teen and teenage years are, almost universally, awkward and tense. Lots of adolescents and teens laugh at jokes that focus on sex, food, authority figures and – in typical rebellious style – any subject that adults consider off-limits. As we mature, on the other hand, both our physical bodies and mental outlooks grow and change. Since there is a certain amount of intelligence involved in “getting” a joke, our sense of humor becomes more developed as we learn more. By the time we’re grown, we have experienced much of life, including tragedy and success. In keeping with these experiences, our sense of humor is more mature. We laugh at other people and ourselves in shared common predicaments and embarrassments. The adult sense of humor is usually characterized as more subtle, more tolerant and less judgmental about the differences in people. The things we find funny as a result of our age or developmental stage seem to be related to the stressors we experience during this time. Basically, we laugh at the issues that stress us out.
Discussions on laughing are getting too serious
Joke: I named my hard drive “dat ass,” so once a month my computer asks if I want to “back dat ass up.”
Laughter and Health
There are lots of discussions over the benefits to health from laughing.
- Apart from physiological benefits laughter reduces levels of certain stress hormones. In doing this, laughter provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight compounds that swing into action in our bodies when we experience stress, anger or hostility. These stress hormones suppress the immune system, increase the number of blood platelets (which can cause obstructions in arteries) and raise blood pressure
- When we’re laughing, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses increase, as do Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells, which are a major part of the immune response, and B-cells, which make disease-destroying antibodies
- Laughter may lead to hiccupping and coughing, which clears the respiratory tract by dislodging mucous plugs. Laughter also increases the concentration of salivary immunoglobulin A, which defends against infectious organisms entering through the respiratory tract
- Blood pressure is lowered, and there is an increase in vascular blood flow and in oxygenation of the blood, which further assists healing. Laughter also gives your diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles a workout
What may surprise you even more is the fact that researchers estimate that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. Laughing can be a total body workout! That’s why you often feel exhausted after a long bout of laughter — you’ve just had an aerobic workout!
Here are some tips to help you put more laughter in your life:
- Figure out what makes you laugh and do it (or read it or watch it) more often.
- Surround yourself with funny people — be with them every chance you get.
- Develop your own sense of humor. Maybe even take a class to learn how to be a better comic — or at least a better joke-teller at that next party. Be funny every chance you get — as long as it’s not at someone else’s expense.
So lets laugh once again
Mrs. Peterson went to the doctor: “I’m terribly worried about my boy. He thinks he’s a chicken.” The doctor asked, “And how long has this been going on?” “Almost a year,” Mrs. Peterson replied. “Well for goodness sakes! Why didn’t you bring him to see me sooner?” “Because we needed the eggs!”
Laughing At Work
Life comes full circle. And I am finally coming back to where I started. Laughing at work in WukiLabs!
I know this article has a lot of research reported on the internet and neither I nor WukiLabs can vouch for its scientific correctness. But if you combine the fact that laughing is a social activity with the fact that it is excellent for your health, the conclusion that laughing at work is an excellent idea seems like common sense. It is a myth that professionalism towards work should also imply a serious attitude in the workplace. There are enough and more studies that show that happier employees are more productive in the workplace. Laughing is the best stress management I can think of!
We definitely love laughing at WukiLabs and here’s what we would encourage every startup to do as well:
- Laugh at yourself, not at someone else
- Laugh with others – it’s the best group activity
- Laugh out loud – a controlled laugh is not half good enough a workout!
By Abhishek Nath, Developer @WukiLabs, http://wukilabs.com/#ourteam