Posted on Jul 02, 2020, 2 p.m.
Were you aware that there is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the study and application of humor to effect positive change? Well there is, The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor believes that the strategic use of humor helps to spark connection, increases influence, improves communication and that it can be used as a competitive advantage in any industry.
Just imagine an occupationally diverse community that is connected by the shared belief in the healing powers of humor and laughter. Humor may be subjective to one’s personal taste, but it is largely universal, helping to provide innumerable benefits to overall health and wellbeing including reducing stress, promoting greater resilience, helping to decrease depressive symptoms, and it may even help to increase pain tolerance.
There very well may be nothing that works faster or more reliably than a good laugh to bring the body and mind back into balance. It helps to lighten your burdens, inspires, hope, connects people together, keeps you grounded, focused, alert, and helps you to release anger.
AATH is on a mission to serve as the community of professionals who study, practice, and promote healthy humor and laughter. This organization has collected research from institutions to create a laughbox library of facts showing that humor is vital to help reduce work stress, influence employee behavior, supporting those struggling with disease, and reinforce learning. What’s more is that some of the information was provided to them from The International Society for Humor Studies, which is a world wide multidisciplinary organization of academics and researchers with interest in studying the aspects of humor.
According to AATH therapeutic humor is basically any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression or appreciation of the absurdity ot incongruity of life’s situations, and this may help to enhance health or be used to complement a treatment of illness to facilitate coping or healing whether that be physical, emotional, cognitive, social or spiritual.
Founded in 1987, AATH was formed to serve as a clearinghouse for information on humor and laughter as they relate to wellbeing; to share related information through publications and educational opportunities; to develop, promote, conduct, and identify the need for research that investigates possible roles of humor; to encourage, support, and report programs incorporating the therapeutic use of humor; and to provide a caring, supportive community of humor professionals and enthusiasts through newsletters, a humor academy, video summits, workshops, conferences, research sessions, and are motivational speakers.
According to AATH humor carries many benefits such as decreasing stress by 39%, increases memory recall by 23%, and employees are 2 times more productive after taking a humor break, they promote humor as being one of the best forms of complementary medicine with their rally cry of “Humor Helps!”
The association is taking humor seriously, taking the neuroscientific, psychological, and behavioral research of humor to show others how to better use it to improve overall health and wellbeing all around the globe to apply its strategic use ranging from exercises for dialysis patients to leadership, to coaching the use of humor as a mindfulness strategy to decrease stress.
Laughter is good medicine, and to many it should be given more priority. Not only is it fun to share a good laugh, but some research is showing that it can actually help improve your health. Laughter can be strong medicine, it draws people together to trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body to strengthen the immune system, boost moods, diminish pain, and protect you from the harmful effects of stress.
Humor has tremendous potential power to help heal and renew, and this ability is free, fun, and easy to utilize. Laughing frequently may be a resource for helping to surmount problems and enhance relationships, all while supporting physical and emotional health.
Laughter relaxes the entire body, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of feel good endorphins, protects the heart, burns calories, reduces anger, decreases pain, and according to at least one study laughter may even help you to live longer. Laughter adds joy and zest to life, improves moods, strengthens resilience, strengthens relationships, influences attraction, enhances teamwork, defuses conflicts, shifts perspectives, and promotes bonding.
Laughter is a natural part of life that is healthy, innate and inborn. We began to smile as week old infants and laugh out loud within months, as children we used to laugh hundreds of times a day but as adults laughter is more infrequent. Perhaps it is time that we seek out more opportunities for humor and laughter, and if this free pursuit helps us to improve our emotional health and strengthen our relationships while finding more happiness adds years to our lives that is just more added benefits that anyone should happily welcome.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.