By Stephenie “Remedi” Lai, Staff Writer

Knock, knock. Who’s there? National Humor Month!

Okay, so that joke wasn’t that great. Nonetheless, April is National Humor Month.

Originally created in 1976, National Humor Month was dreamt up by Larry Wilde, the director of The Carmel Institute of Humor to raise awareness of the health benefits of laughter. Wilde believed April would be the best fit because people seem to be the most stressed around tax season. In addition, April begins with All Fool’s Day, a day giving people free reign in pulling pranks and playing jokes.

Laughter is contagious. Once someone starts laughing, you can’t help but join in whether or not you know why you’re laughing. Giggling as a group helps people bond and strengthens relationships. A chuckle every so often can boost your immune system, decrease pain and reduce stress.

A really good laugh can benefit you physically, mentally and socially. Laughter relaxes your muscles for up to 45 minutes afterwards. It can also increase the release of endorphins, while decreasing stress hormones. The higher number of infection-fighting antibodies also improves your disease resistance. Laughter can improve the function of blood vessels and increase blood flow, providing extra protection for your heart.

Mentally, laughing puts you in a good mood. It puts a smile on your face and brings joy into your life. Although it may seem counterproductive, a little bit of humor can amp up your energy and cause you to accomplish more. Laughing about something can help you take a step back from a situation and take a lighter perspective on it, also decreasing your stress by making you feel less overwhelmed.

Don’t try this alone! Laughing with a group of people is more beneficial than laughing by yourself. Sharing your jokes can strengthen relationships by effectively resolving issues and disagreements. Humor can make you a more spontaneous person, urging you to get away from your problems. It can settle arguments by making you less defensive and let go of any inhibitions. Your real emotions are also more likely to surface during these times when laughter makes you most vulnerable.

So get the most out of National Humor Month. Your body will thank you later. Make sure to smile throughout the day. A beautiful smile is the beginning of a cheerful laugh, and is also contagious. When you find laughter, follow it. Bringing yourself into lighthearted, humorous situations is the easiest way to find something funny to laugh about. It also helps to surround yourself with funny people. That way, humor is never too far. With the expenses of healthcare these days, nothing beats a free remedy.

Sources:
http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm
http://www.larrywilde.com/month.htm

Photo credit:

http://www.sxc.hu/pic/m/a/at/atsoram/1158074_paper_emotions_-_laughter.jpg