Today’s Solutions: July 22, 2024

Mary Desmond Pinkowish | August 2009 issue
Does laughter prevent heart disease? Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, thinks so. Here’s why: Several years ago, he and his colleagues gave a humor test to people with and without heart disease. The researchers outlined a series of hypothetical scenarios. Healthy participants were 40 percent more likely than those with heart disease to report laughing in these situations. These are two examples:
You thought you recognized a friend in a crowded room. You attracted the person’s attention and hurried over, but when you got there you discovered you had made a mistake and the person was a total stranger…
If you arrived at a party and found that someone else was wearing a piece of clothing identical to yours…
To this, respondents could mark:
• I wouldn’t have found it particularly amusing.
• I would have been amused but wouldn’t have shown it.
• I would have smiled.
• I would have laughed.
• I would have laughed heartily.
The results of the survey indicated that those who’d had heart attacks or other cardiac problems didn’t use humor to deal with day-to-day frustrations as frequently as healthier people. In addition, they often displayed anger and hostility in situations at which others would shrug or laugh. Want to know how you’d do on the survey? Give it a try at The test should take less than five minutes—unless your browser crashes, in which case it will take longer, but you’ll just laugh it off.

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