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The Benefits of Humor

Posted Jan 22 2009 6:45pm
Loma Linda University conducted a study in which they separated a group of people into two subgroups, one group watching comedy videos, the other not. When they measured body chemistry levels afterwards, they found that all of the good chemistry we associate with exercise (endorphins and such) was elevated in those that watched the comedy. They made the connection that humor and laughter have benefits similar to exercise. Now that doesn't mean sit on your recliner and watch television all night instead of walking, yet, the point is taken.

And that makes this bit of news disturbing.

Researchers at Washington University tested about 40 healthy adults over age 65 and 40 undergraduate students with exercises in which they had to complete jokes and stories. Participants also had to choose the correct punch line for verbal jokes and select the funny ending to series of cartoon panels.

The research showed that the younger adults did 6 percent better on the verbal jokes and 14 percent better on the comic portion than did older participants, It was a study about whether they got what was supposed to be funny. Older adults, because they may have deficits in some cognitive areas, may have a harder time understanding what a joke is about they concluded.

My opinion - a positive, happy outlook on life in which we can find the humor in it all will outweigh a grumpy old man personality any day. But life is tough and comedy is hard. So you have to be cognizant of this in your daily life. I think if you develop a sense of humor early in your life and raise your kids likewise you may have a fighting chance as you grow older. Then the joke will be on them!
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