Laughter IS the Best Medicine

Will Rogers once said. “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.” One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers says: “All generalizations are false.”

Another ditty that has found its way around the Internet recently goes something like this: “The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

And I love this one: “Energizer Bunny arrested, charged with battery.”

Humor is part of the human condition

There is always a raging kernel of truth in good humor which is why it tickles us. You know this one, right? “Just accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.”

Infamous by now, this one can be found in many a toilet cubical: “I don’t suffer from stress. I’m a carrier.”

Some forms of humor address our social condition, some our human condition, others our physical or mental condition. Some, like this one, play on safety conditions:

“Warning: Dates in calendar are closer than they appear.” Or this one, which plays on the multigenerational family process: “Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home one day.”

The “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road” queries are some of the more brilliant. Surely you’ve heard these answers:

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic,
unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such a herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurrence.

Ronald Reagan: I forget.

These remind of me of yet another old one: “Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.”

It’s hard, though, to beat zany one-liners like, “The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.” Or, “A closed mouth gathers no feet.” – “Before marriage, a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage, the ‘Y’ becomes silent.” –”Money can’t buy happiness; it can, however, rent it.”

OXYMORONS are particularly fun: act naturally – airline food – Amtrak schedule – constant variable – corporate conscience – deafening silence – family vacation – good grief – ill health – industrial park – old news – terribly pleased – virtual reality.

Our mind savors a good twist! And it eagerly takes us places like this: Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies, “I’m sorry, monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”

This answering machine message is one of the best: “You’re growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You feel very sleepy now. You are gradually losing your willpower and your ability to resist suggestions. When you hear the tone you will feel helplessly compelled to leave your name, number, and a message.” hehe


Scientists have found that laughter is a form of internal massaging that exercises the body and stimulates the release of beneficial brain neurotransmitters and hormones. A positive outlook and laughter are actually good for your health! If you haven’t read Norman Cousin’s book on this, you should.

Adults laugh approximately 15 times per day while children laugh about 400 times a day! When we grow up, somehow we loose a few hundred laughs a day. It is sad and it can be life threatening.

Did you know that a good belly laugh gives you the same benefits as an aerobic workout? Laughter boosts the immune system and lessens pain; it also reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and has a beneficial effect on our overall well-being. Laughter may also help protect you against a heart attack.

We know that exercising, not smoking, and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list. Ah, but that doesn’t sound very mediciny, eh?

So, how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one – but it will take a long long time, and the light bulb has got to really want to change.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. © 2010 Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph. All rights reserved.

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