Tuesday, February 20, 2018

what is laughter?

Everyone knows the old adage that laughter is the best medicine. In most cases, I actually believe that this is true. I can't tell you how many times I've been bummed out, sick, or generally uninspired and simply putting on a comedy special has turned it all around for me. Dare I say, even inspired me.

But what is laughter and why do we do it? I think about this daily.

I am embarrassed to say that I have (what I consider) to be a less than feminine laugh. Even the best sounding laughs out there are fundamentally a weird series of sounds. People are basically doing a mixture of grunting and hyperventilating when they laugh.

This is totally bizarre.

It's also bizarre that laughter is often reactionary and involuntary. Some people (like myself) even have a different kind of laugh for nervous responses. Laughter is often used to mock or show sarcasm. Even animals laugh. Did you know there are scientists that tickle rats to record their laughs? That's ridiculous and hilarious.

I've read a lot that laughter is a form of communication but I don't know exactly what we're trying to communicate. I don't think it's any one thing we are trying to say. However, I feel like it IS a universal language. There are no barriers to laughter. We know this because even babies do it.

In all my research about the topic it seems that the answers are nebulous. We know about brain chemistry and how genuine laughter releases all these good brain chemicals. And yet we have a hard time describing why one thing might be funny and the another is not.

My personal conclusion is that laughter is the language of joy. It is acceptance of self and others. It is both pure and flawed. It's how we brighten up all the little moments in life. And I know it's good for me. I need it. So, this is a public reminder (to myself ) to remember to laugh.

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