Friday, February 8, 2013

Learning to love: Laughter

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

Laughter is contagious and is therefore a wonderful way to share happiness. It is kind to smile, laugh and find humor in senseless contradictions and self-importance so as to make others laugh. It releases tension. You don´t have to explain it for it is an expression in itself. It makes thoughts real, as they physically unchain the chemical release of endorphins and their analgesic qualities. MRI’s have proved that a smile stimulates the centers of happiness and enjoyment in the brain, even if it is done un-wantingly!
Laughter is a universal expression as Charles Darwin reported in “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” in 1872, recognized by humans all over the globe. The zygomaticus muscle pulls the corners of the mouth, across the cheeks, from the eyes with a contraction that makes a smile.The best face-lift we can have is a smile! Scientists initiated the study of this human response in Stanford University under William Fry, in Gelotology (Gr.: gelos-laughter), being a therapeutic complement for Medicine. Paul Ekman, world expert on expressions, says there are eighteen different types of smiles. True smiles of enjoyment are symmetrical, with genuine spontaneity and a sparkle in the eyes. The ‘laugh lines’ that crinkle the skin around the eyes are definite signs of authenticity. It´s a shame we pay to have them removed!
Humor is cultural, dependent of levels of education. Subtle associations may differ from comedy to cynicism, depending on the outlook of life. Bitterness and pain may ridicule innocence and folly. So what someone may find amusing may offend someone else. But it’s still funny! We have to be able to laugh at ourselves first, and shift the frame from which we observe and judge ourselves and others, to minimize self-importance.  Take for example, an “opinionated” blogger who uses black comedy to make difficult or prohibited subjects lighter, in his blog Harsh Reality, Humor ranges from innocence to cynicism, but in all cases it must start from being able to laugh at ourselves. It diverts seriousness to a ‘here and now’ response.
Loving is made fun when you can laugh together (not laughing at each other, unless you laugh at yourself, first). Difficulties in a relationship are smoothened with a smile. Even love-making, that often entails nervousness and fear of being ridiculous, can be made lighter if you can laugh at yourself as you try awkward positions, or gasp for breath or are unable to get out from under him!!!
When in doubt, laugh. When in problems, laugh. When stressed, laugh. When worried, laugh. When in love, laugh. Life can only be explained through humor!


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