"Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It's the sweetest thing one can do for oneself and for others." – Maya Angelou
You could say I'm on a new health kick to laugh more often. A sense of humor does not figure prominently in my personality, and even though I try to be funny, I'm just not wired that way. Maybe it's in the water.
What do snowmen wear on their heads? (Ice caps.)
I'm not making excuses, but there's a good explanation for this: my parents were serious workaholics, so I'm thinking I've got a terminal case of humorlessness.
Why does Santa have three gardens? (So he can hoe, hoe, hoe.)
Since Norman Cousins' breakthrough on the healing qualities of humor, it has been well-documented that our immune system is directly affected by our emotions. A sense of humor and other positive emotions create neurochemical changes that heal. Take my lack of humor, please!
What does a cat on the beach have in common with Christmas? (Sandy claws)
Researchers at Loma Linda University School of Medicine found that laughter stimulates the immune system, reducing the immune suppressing effects of stress. Stressville here I come.
Why were Santa's helpers depressed? (low elf-esteem)
This research is called psychoneuroimmunology, the study of communication links and relationships between emotional experiences and immune responses in neurological systems. Laughter is a catalyst in lowering our cortisol levels and protecting immune systems. Where's Dr. Phil when you really need him?
What do people who are afraid of Santa Claus suffer from? (claustrophobia)
Natural killer cells are a type of immune cell that attack foreign viral or cancerous cells. Activated by laughter, these cells can prevent illnesses by recognizing and attacking them. Killer cells are elevated for at least 12 hours after just an hour of humorous shows, like "Candid Camera" or "America's Funniest Home Videos."
What do elves eat for lunch? (elf-abet soup)
Someday, humor therapy could be a part of preventive care. Laughing for 10 to 15 minutes increases your heart rate by 10 to 20 percent. That means we could burn an extra 10 to 40 calories a day. In the spirit of Richard Simons, burn, baby, burn.
What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? (frost bite)
In a UCLA study, experts found that children tolerated pain better when viewing comedies. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Watch two episodes of "I Love Lucy" and call the doctor in the morning.
How does the Christmas alphabet differ from the ordinary alphabet? (no-el)
Laughter helps the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter also releases endorphins, making us feel good and temporarily relieving pain.
What do snowmen eat for lunch? (ice-bergers)
Laughter protects the heart, improves blood vessel functions and increases blood flow, shielding against heart failure and other cardiovascular problems.
What do snowmen eat for breakfast? (Frosted Flakes)
Ah, what the health. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work on making someone laugh today. Just do it for the health of it.
Sources: "Humor an Antidote for Stress," Patty Wooten; "Laughter is the Best Medicine," HelpGuide.org; "The Comedy Cure," Kathryn M. Tyranski.
2011 © Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.