Your Weekly English Digest 被恥笑能常保健康，幽默感可延年益壽！TIME文章好讀，細讀能夠提升英文程度。
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April Fools Day Is No Joke 愚人節玩真的
The average American adult laughs just 18 times a day. That’s down from the eight laughs an hour they enjoyed when they were five years old. This, according to emerging research in the behavioral sciences, is a big problem.
These days, comedy is everywhere — on television, in movies, and all over the Internet. Yet our lives lack levity輕率(意指生活太嚴肅了). We are over-scheduled, over-tired, and over-worked. Who has time to crack jokes with friends跟朋友講笑話 anymore?
Over the centuries, most scholars focused on humor’s dark side. Plato and Aristotle柏拉圖與亞里士多德 believed comedy was all about exerting superiority over your peers凸顯自己比同儕要來得優秀 and delighting in others’ follies透過譏笑他人的愚蠢得到樂趣. Freud thought humor was a psychic release valve心靈釋放的活門 for people to release their dirty and repressed thoughts齷齪與壓抑的想法. But increasingly, scientists are embracing and examining the brighter side of life, with a special emphasis on what makes people happy. No wonder then, that humor is now seen as a virtue現在被視為是一種美德 in the increasingly popular positive psychology movement, alongside concepts like creativity, curiosity, and love.
But that’s just the beginning. Humor, for example, has been shown to significantly enhance relationships, romantic and otherwise. If two people can make each other laugh, after all, they likely share many of the same values, beliefs, and interests — the bedrock of healthy relationships. No wonder, then that a survey of 700 men and women found that people considered humor one of the most important characteristics when choosing a partner. And studies of happy marriages, especially those lasting more than 50 years, find spouses often credit their marital bliss to laughing together將快樂婚姻歸功於一起歡笑.
Humor can also smooth interactions and build bonds. While schools are instituting anti-bullying programs, research finds that many forms of gentle teasing無足輕重的揶揄 are actually highly beneficial. Such verbal and physical play is integral不可或缺的 for setting social boundaries制定社會界線, easing conflicts調解衝突, and negotiating the uncertainties of life順利因應生命中許多不可預期的事情. Humor even seems to help serious business negotiations. In one study, people trying to bargain down the price of a landscape painting were more likely to come to an agreement達成協議 if the person on the other side of the negotiating table cracked, “I’ll throw in my pet frog.”
There are less obvious benefits to enjoying a joke. Comedy challenges assumptions and humor broadens perspectives, thus enhancing creativity. In one experiment, researchers had people try to solve a classic puzzle: attach a candle to a blank wall using only the candle, a box of tacks, and some matches. Folks who watched slapstick comedy低俗鬧劇 were more successful at solving the task — tack the box to the wall and then use a match to melt the candle onto the box — than those who had watched a math video or exercised.
And finally, although science hasn’t proven that laughter is the best medicine, it has shown that humor is a potentially powerful mechanism to deal with physical and psychological pain. Historical records indicate that people facing great suffering, from Holocaust大屠殺 victims to prisoners of war, found humor to be an important way to cope因應面對 — findings bolstered by支持laboratory and clinical research臨床研究. In one especially touching experiment, researchers interviewed a group of widowers six months after the death of their spouses. Those able to smile and laugh about their marriage during this time of lingering sadness逗留的感傷 had fewer problems with grief and depression in the years that followed.
Mark Twain had it right when he quipped妙語諷刺, “The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in Heaven.” So, if you want to inject more humor into your life為生命注入多一點幽默, you could go to more comedy clubs喜劇俱樂部(可以觀賞喜劇單人相聲演出) or increase your intake of silly movies多看點白目的搞笑影片. That would surely increase your laughs per hour — but we prefer a different approach: Teach yourself to think like a comedian. Take a step back往後退一步 from the faults and foibles弱點 of daily life, and find a way to laugh at them. Take what’s wrong, in other words, and find a way to make it okay.
Dr. Peter McGraw, founder of the Humor Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Joel Warner, an award-winning journalist, are co-authors of the new book, The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, which will be published today by Simon & Schuster.