Last Wednesday, at noon in the Muenster University Center pit lounge, the Honors Program presented its first lecture in the Flash Lecture series.
Flash lectures are true to their name: they last only five minutes. To kick off the series, Michele Turner, the Student Counseling Center’s prevention coordinator, talked about laughter.
While it was a short lecture, it was insightful.
Being in college means stress, and a lot of it. All of us have experienced, or will experience as a first-year, that feeling of immense pressure, as if the world were collapsing in on all sides.
With all this stress, it’s imperative for students to take time and laugh. Not only does it relieve stress, there are actually health benefits associated with a hearty laugh.
Not to suggest that stress is always and forever a bad thing. There are some forms of good stress. However, college is filled with stress that leads to negative side effects. Some of those effects include: chronic headaches, cardiovascular problems and coronary disease.
Luckily for broke college students, laughter is a free way to relieve day to day stress and the negative effects associated with it. For starters, laughing actually boosts the immune system. If that wasn’t enough, laughing actually causes the body to produce its own painkillers.
The body is its own pharmacist. Don’t ask me how: I’m not a medical biology major (by choice). Either way, instead of making a costly trip to Walmart or Hyvee, have a good belly laugh (unless you have strep throat: that would not help). Things will get better.
Besides the health benefits, laughter is all around a good way to get through the tough spots in life. I know of people who, after a hard breakup, did nothing but watch comedians on YouTube for days on end. When I have a bad day, I listen to either George Carlin or Eddie Murphy on Pandora, and they never fail to cheer me up just a little bit.
Some easy ways to find a good laugh include, just as I did, finding a good comedian. I personally recommend Jim Gaffigan, Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy. Some are rawer than others, but all have their own quality. Another way to chuckle is find a funny person and befriend them.
There are plenty of people on campus who are quick with a joke and always get the lunch table doubled over in laughter. A good place to start would be the USD Improv Club. Every few weeks they perform, free of charge, for students in the MUC pit lounge. If improv is appealing, consider joining the club.
In college things seem to pile up quickly, and we wonder how in the world we are going to get through it. Plenty have done it before us, so we can do it. In the meantime, take a moment to laugh. It’s no laughing matter.