I used to keep Laffy Taffy candy on my desk as a friendly offering for coworkers who stopped by. If someone took a piece of Laffy Taffy I’d ask them to read out loud the joke on the wrapper so we could laugh together. Occasionally we’d laugh because the joke was funny but most of the time, we’d laugh at the joke being terrible and it would lead us to talking about other things that were funny. Humorous or not, those silly candy wrapper jokes gave us an excuse to laugh together, and it feels good to laugh.
Have you ever started laughing and couldn’t stop even after everyone else was finished? Like the laugh was much needed and it felt so good that your body seemingly wanted to go on forever. Or have you ended a laugh with a big satisfying sigh? It turns out that laughing has great short-term and long-term effects on your well-being; that satisfying sigh after laughing is real – you are satisfied and perhaps healthier.
The Mayo Clinic says laughing is good for your health. Laughing enhances your intake of oxygen and stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles. Laughing increases the release of endorphins (good feelings) in your brain and helps sooth tensions and gives you a good, relaxed feeling. Have you ever heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine?” well it turns out laughter does ease pain. Laughing causes the body to produce its own natural painkillers, and it can spur the release of neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses. Laughing and joking can also bond us together and strengthen those needed human connections that give our mental health a boost. Perhaps we should think of laughing as not just entertainment but as something our bodies and minds need.
July 1st is International Joke Day and while I am not sure any one joke translates into all languages well enough to be called international, laughing needs no translation and is contagious in any language. And I don’t know about you, but I could always use a laugh and that natural boost to my mental health.
My family likes to retell the same jokes and stories over and over again, because if it was funny once it should be funny a hundred times. Sometimes all it takes is a certain look or one word to remind us of the whole joke and then we are suddenly laughing, releasing those endorphins, feeling good, and building positivity to draw on for those tougher times in life.
In honor of International Joke Day and the healing power of laughter I will share a few cheesy puns. Not quite as terrible as the Laffy Taffy candy wrapper jokes, but close.
- What do gingerbread men put on their beds? – Cookie sheets
- What do you call an alligator in a vest? – An investigator
- What do you call the ghost of a chicken? – A poultry-geist
- I used to be a tap dancer – ‘Til I fell in the sink
- What do pigs put on their wounds? Oink-ment
I encourage you to find those funny jokes and stories that you love and to partake of them every day; your body, mind, and relationships will benefit from the laughter.