Tickling the Funny Bone

by Cynthia Germain

We all know the saying “laughter is the best medicine,” but have you ever wondered if there’s any truth to it? Well, research has shown just how powerful a good laugh can be, especially for our senior community.

Picture this: a group of elderly individuals, each standing in front of a mirror, forcing themselves to laugh for one minute every day. Sounds a bit odd, right? But this intentional laughter exercise, where participants engage in laughter regardless of their mood, showed some fascinating results.

This isn’t just about cracking jokes or watching funny videos. Intentional laughter, as defined by experts, is a deliberate act that can quickly turn into genuine laughter. Research indicates that our brains don’t distinguish much between real and fake laughter. Both have similar positive effects on our body and mind.

But it’s not just about reducing the blues. Laughter also has a positive effect on our overall sense of humor and happiness. Enter the “Funny Bone” assessment, a fun little survey that asks participants of a study to reflect on their humor habits and what makes them laugh. Here’s a sneak peek at the questions:

When was the last time you had a good laugh?
What kinds of things make you laugh?
How often do you laugh?
What could you do today that would make you laugh?
Do you find humor a source of relaxation?
What makes you happy?
Are you still hoping yesterday will get better?

Each question encourages participants to think about their daily laughter habits . The assessment showed that laughter not only boosts mood but also enhances our ability to find humor in everyday situations.

Interestingly, a study found that laughter’s benefits are pretty consistent across different age groups and genders. However, older adults, especially those over 80, seemed to respond even more positively to the laughter exercises. This suggests that as we age, the need for joy and laughter becomes even more crucial to our well-being.

So don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh. Whether it’s through intentional laughter exercises, watching a funny movie, or just sharing a joke with friends, finding ways to incorporate more laughter into your daily life can have profound effects on your mental health and happiness.

Next time you’re feeling a bit down or just want to boost your mood, remember that laughter really might be the best medicine. And if you’re curious, why not try the Funny Bone assessment yourself? You might be surprised at how much a little humor can brighten your day.