Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Evolution of Laughter

"Laughter no more evolved to make us feel good or improve our health than walking evolved to promote cardiovascular fitness."    

Provine, Robert R. (2000), Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, pgs. 189-190.

While the benefits of laughter might be secondary, coincidental consequences of an evolved "fight or flight" action, it is still available to those who choose this distraction as a means to warn off transient stress. 

Speaking from experience, humor can be a welcome distraction from pain and discomfort, even if only momentarily. It's an opportunity to recharge, to step-back and consider other variables that might not have been evaluated given the intense focus needed to manage the pain and still "function". For example, a pair of one-hour shoes can last 3-hours when you find the "perfect" dress you just so happen to need for a dinner party. 

If you've ever spent time around someone with a chronic health condition, you probably know that any distraction is a "good distraction" when it comes to pain management. 

So, whether laughter and the higher brain activity associated with recognizing "humorous" situations evolved from our need to ward off attacks from predators, it remains good medicine in my book of natural cures. 

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