Ask Dr. Kim
Health & Lifestyle
Dear Dr. Hwang,
I notice that some of my friends, who laugh more, have more fun. Is it true that people who laugh at themselves have more fun too?
I recently saw a Korean Adoptee comedian, Amy Anderson at Metropolitan University with a good friend of mine, Raquel Cervantes-Bethke, Social Worker in the St. Paul Public School District.
Amy Anderson offered a brilliant narrative account of what it was like to grow up in Brainerd, Minnesota as an Asian woman in an area where there were hardly any people of color. While some of the stories she shared were obviously riddled with racism, disenfranchisement and oppression, she was clearly able to transcend from the racist challenges presented by these difficult experiences and see the obvious humor within each life experience.
The crowd roared and laughed many times over! We laughed hysterically at the broad range of comparisons that she made to what it was like to be a woman of color in Minnesota and have many similar nuanced and unique experiences! Often, people looked back at Raquel and I because we were laughing so loud.
The study of laughing is referred to as Gelotologists. Unfortunately, Gelotologists state that children laugh much more than adults, up to 10 times more. This may affirm some children’s perceptions that adults aren’t as fun as kids?
Neuropsychologists state that laughing is the best medicine because laughing secretes a chemical called serotonin, an opiate like hormone, which is known to increase one’s mood and “maintain a happy feeling.” In addition, psychoneuroimmunologists believe that laughter is healthy because happier people, typically carry less stress, have healthier organs and therefore, may have a stronger immune system, which is better able to fight off minor illnesses.
Socially, laughing with a friend or a group of people helps us to gain a more balanced perspective of our lives and problems. We are more likely to laugh with friends, than by ourselves. Getting out, laughing more and being able to laugh at yourself with your friends absolutely makes life more fun! Seriously, laugh and have more fun!