Sunday, December 25, 2011

What Really Matters [Laughter]

I’m hearing people talk about the gifts they’ve received and I can’t shake the knowledge that one-third of all children in the US are homeless.

One third.

And you’re posting FB/ Twitter updates about all your gifts? I dunno, man, something isn’t correct…

There is no greater reward than sharing. No gadget, no toy, nothing glittery will save you from yourself. I believe life’s greatest challenge is being able see the suffering in the world and still commit to living with compassion, humor, joy, and a lot of laughter. For this is what really matters.

* * *

It is impossible for a truly grateful person to be sad for an extended period of time.

Because a large portion of my work involves the mind, I consume a lot of research, especially new research around neuroscience. I love it when this research confirms my experiences. For example, I came across these few important facts about laughter…

Research shows that when you laugh from the belly, you breathe in sex times more oxygen than normal. Some experts estimate that twenty seconds of laughter is equal to twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Usually something is funny as well, which is its own reward. In fact, laughter stimulates the euphoria centers in the brain, the same ones that light up over sex (or chocolate).

Scientific studies have been done on the “vocalization” and “burst rates” of laughter, discovering that, cross culturally, the most constant consonant of laughter is “h.” Most of us go, “ha ha,” or “hee hee,” “ho ho,” or “heh heh.” the researchers also found that no one laughs with mixed consonants, as in “ha, fa, la, ca, kee, po… ”

Anthropologists now believe that the human laughter, “ha ha,” evolved from the rhythmic sound made by other primate species when tickling and chasing each other in play. The make a sound like “hooh hooh.”

Primates like to tickle each other, and one scientist has determined that the first joke ever made was the fake tickle, when the gesture to tickle is made but withdrawn before contact, as in “Ha ha. Fooled you.”

Here’s hoping that you have much to laugh over and that you commit to sharing that bounty and laughter with people not just inside your insular bubble, but to an ever-expanding network of relationships.



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