Seriously, we need it for humankind’s own survival
By ROHINI RAJARATNAM
Humour has been around ever since the beginning of time.
Even chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans show laughter-like vocalisations in response to physical contact such as wrestling, play chasing or tickling.
So, what is humour?
The word is said to derive from the Latin word “umor” which means “body fluid.”
In medieval physiology, our relative proportions of body fluids determine our physical condition and state of mind.
Most think humour is something that exists for mere entertainment.
Studies have shown that it is actually an aspect of the human mind in processing information.
A lot of research has been done to highlight the importance of humour in our daily lives.
Even Sigmund Freud noticed the correlation between humour and the unconscious mind and pondered upon the question on why we laugh.
If this is so, how does humour impact us?
Here are the three aspects in which humour plays an essential role in our lives:
It’s pretty evident that humour can help in improving one’s mental health from stress, depression or even just a bad day.
Laughter reduces mental tension and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
It also stimulates both sides of the brain, encouraging clarity, creativity and better problem-solving abilities.
Remember the movie Patch Adams, directed by Tom Shadyac which tells the true story of a medical student using humour to treat patients?
The real-life Adams, also known as Dr Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams, founded the Gesundheit! Institute as part of his initiative to change the American healthcare system by incorporating laughter, joy and creativity as an integral part of the healing process.
Robin Williams as Patch Adams | 1998 movie poster
Studies have shown that humour does boost one’s immunity.
A good hearty laugh is said to benefit one’s circulation, lungs and muscles, especially those around the belly area.
It also helps one deal with pain and physical adversity.
Take Norman Cousins, for example, who was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that caused the breakdown of collagen, leaving him in almost constant pain and motivated his doctor to say he would die within a few months.
He claimed to have recovered from it with just laughter from tonnes of comedies!
Unsurprisingly, humour brings people together.
You are more likely to keep social contact with those who make you laugh and can take a joke. Humour boosts one’s communication connection.
Most studies find humour to be a highly desirable attribute, which explains why the acronym GSOH (good sense of humour) found its way into personal and online dating posts.
So, tell a joke once in a while and have a good, hearty laugh because humour is an integral part of human survival.
Rohini is a law graduate and freelance writer. Her areas of interest are personal development, social rights, and reflective writing. Share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you wondered about the life of comic artists, who incessantly tickle our funny bones with their drawings, bubble talks (sometimes none at all) and exaggerated cartoon characters? Read about the life of a real comic artist below:
Artist, Ernest Ng: Comic Stripped!