Monday, December 7, 2009

On Humor

Cultivating a sense of humor never really seemed like a priority for me growing up, either you were one of the funny ones or you weren't. You weren't funny you stood in the back corner and laughed at the comedy stylings of Bill Cosby, Yakov Smirnoff and the class clown. And yet now that I have children I'm far more concerned about how vital a sense of humor is for people. I imagine that humor is a kind of litmus test of well adjustment.
You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.           -Bill Cosby

I'm told there's a correlation between a sense of humor and mental health. I believe it; the times I've felt depressed I haven't had a funny bone in my body, and yet when I'm laughing my heart is light and happy. I don't need a scientific study to tell me that laughter and making other people laugh is a recipe for a healthy cocktail of chemicals in the brain.

Dental healthcare underwent a huge change. Less than sixty years ago, all a dentist used to do was drill cavities, pour fillings and make false teeth. Now dentistry is all about preventative medicine. Dentists today train patients on how to take care of their teeth, do cleanings and rarely drill a cavity. The evolution of dentistry from disease treatment to preventative medicine is a remarkable achievement for mankind. 

Science and medicine are making a lot of progress in other areas of health. Especially now that healthcare has become such a social hot topic, preventative medicine is becoming an increasingly important option for healthcare. More doctors are talking about wholistic approaches to healthcare, regularly giving patients advice on exercise and diet. It's only a matter of time before a wave of preventative medicine sweeps mental healthcare. When that happens what kind of advice will doctors give us about preventing depression. I don't know, but I can imagine that it'll include a shot of laughter and a prescription to make someone else laugh.

As I get older I struggle to keep my wit sharp. Despite that, I find myself pointing out funny things around me more than I used to when I was younger. I try to make those around me laugh, not to get attention or make light of a situation but because I feel it's important to keep a healthy atmosphere around me. There's something healthy about a good sense of humor and the spirit it brings to those around me. I don't know where a sense of humor falls on Maslow's heirarchy of needs but I think it should be closer to the foundation than to the top.

So here's to a good joke, and here's to making people happy through laughter.


Crazymamaof6 said...

finding the humor in life is always a good idea. I need to laugh alot and sometimes just watching my favorite sitcom can turn a bad day into a good one.

blackeyedblog said...

Well said. I also wished I had learned to balance humor with more serious traits at an earlier age. But I was never labeled 'The Funny One' so what chance did I have? :)