Research has long associated anger and hostility with increased coronary-heart disease risk.
Now, a recent study from cardiologists at the University of Maryland, has shown that
laughter may have a beneficial effect on the heart. Do you know what they discovered?
(To find the answers, hover your mouse over the smiley face following each question.
Answers also appear at the end of the quiz, just in case some joker ran off with the smiles!)
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Jest for the Health of It
1. People with heart disease were ____ less likely to use or see humor in situations than those without heart problems.
A) 10 percent
B) 25 percent
C) 40 percent
D) 75 percent
2. It is still not clear how laughter can directly help the heart but other studies have shown that laughter is beneficial for
A) fewer aging lines
B) interpersonal relationships
C) inner peace
D) every system in the body
3. When you have a good hearty laugh, your heart is getting a workout similar to
A) playing baseball
B) aerobic exercise
D) none of the above
4. Laughing is also good for your respiratory system. After a really good laugh, you frequently
B) have to take in a big breath of air
C) breathe more slowly
D) breathe more rapidly
5. Laughter is a great
A) muscle relaxer
B) social skill
D) appetite stimulant
6. Laughter decreases the secretion of
A) gastric acids
D) antidiuretic hormones
Mirth Myths and Realities
About 40 years ago, Norman Cousins claimed that laughter cured him of a rare debilitating disease.
Ever since then, people have been attributing a myriad of benefits to laughter and humor.
7. Children laugh around _____ times a day.
8. Adults laugh around _____ times a day.
9. A popular idea is that _____________ are secreted into the blood system when we laugh.
C) gastric acids
D) new red blood cells
10. Hearty laughter produces other chemicals which help
A) suppress appetite
B) stimulate hair growth
C) boost the immune system
D) increase appetite
11. What we also know is that laughter _________ the blood
12. Laughter can make you look younger, for it
A) tones up the muscles of your face
B) leads to an increase of blood supply to your face
C) nourishes your facial skin
D) makes your face glow
13. Joseph Addison wrote, “Mirth is like a flash of __________.”
14. George Ade remarked, “It is not time for mirth and laughter, the cold, gray dawn of __________.”
A) the morning after
C) a new age
15. Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
A) be prompt and you dine alone
B) snore and you sleep alone
C) weep, and you weep alone
D) all of the above
16. Mirth is the sweet wine of human life. It should be offered sparkling with
A) laughter at oneself first of all
C) zestful life unto God
D) love for your fellow man
17. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than
B) a sharp stick in the eye
18. According to William F. Fry, Jr., “Humor opposes directly those emotions which have been specifically recorded as being associated with _____.”
B) precipitation of heart attack
19. Benjamin Rush said, “Mirth, and even cheerfulness, when employed as remedies in low spirits, are like ____________________.”
A) sun on a rainy day
B) a rose among thorns
C) a rainbow after a storm
D) hot water to a frozen limb
20. William Shakespeare wrote, “With mirth and laughter let ____________.”
A) old wrinkles come
B) the games begin
C) us walk into the future
D) love bloom
21. “Frame thy mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms, and ____________.” (William Shakespeare)
A) lightens thy face with smiles
B) lengthens life
C) aids digestion
D) makes thine enemies wonder what thou art up to
22. According to theologian Bishop Robert South, “Most of the appearance of mirth in the world is not mirth, it is ____________.”
C) a mask
23. “I love such mirth as does not make friends ashamed to ______________.”
A) act like fools
B) look upon one another next morning
C) laugh at themselves
D) admit they know one another
And now, in keeping with the theme, a bit of mirthful fun…
24. St. Urho Day is celebrated on
A) March 16
B) March 17
C) March 21
D) March 31
25. St. Urho is the patron saint of
26. St. Urho is feted for driving out a plague of giant ________ from his country.
27. These bothersome pests were wreaking havoc on the _______________.
B) corn crop
28. St. Urho is reputed to have used his _____________ to chase these destructive pests away.
A) trusty rusty sword
C) splendid and loud voice
D) giant rake
29. In celebration of St. Urho’s Day, people partake of
A) purple grape juice
B) green beer
C) red wine
D) orange juice
30. Other celebratory activities include
A) silly costumes
C) dancing polkas
D) all of the above
31. St. Urho was reportedly invented in
A) the 1500s
C) the 1950s
32. St. Urho Day is celebrated in
A) all 50 of the United States
33. The colors for St. Urho’s Day are
A) maize and blue
B) royal purple and nile green
C) red and orange
D) green and white
34. Another Irish/Finnish connection has to do with the invention of the
A) Guinness brewing process
B) Mickey Finn
C) Irish jig
D) Finnish line
35. Statues of St. Urho can be found in
A) New York
B) Menaghin, MN
C) Finland, MN
Jest for the Health of It
1. C) 40 percent - Those with heart disorders said they don't laugh as much and are more angry and hostile than their healthy counterparts.
2. D) every system in the body
3. B) aerobic exercise - Your heart-rate and blood pressure go up, then dip below normal when you stop laughing. It also increases the body's ability to use oxygen.
4. B) have to take in a big breath of air
5. A) muscle relaxer - Maybe that's why we leak when we laugh. How many times have you laughed so hard that you could hardly get out of your chair?
6. C) cortisol - a stress hormone
Mirth Myths and Realities
About 40 ago, Norman Cousins claimed that laughter cured him of a rare debilitating disease. Ever since then, people have been attributing a myriad of benefits to laughter and humor.
7. D) 300 - Anyone who hangs around children for a while knows that they laugh a lot. Children laugh unconditionally. "Glee" (not just laughter) in a nursery school reportedly ranges from 18.4 to 45 incidents an hour per child!
8. A) 15 – Unlike children, adults laugh only if there is a cause. “Where there is logic, there is no laughter. The very essence of laughter is absurdity," points out the author of Laugh For No Reason, Dr. Madan Kataria.
9. B) endorphins – These are natural pain killers in the body, which help reduce the intensity of pain from arthritis, spondylitis and migraine.
10. C) boost the immune system - by helping to increase the count of natural killer lymphocytes (a type of white cell) and raise the antibody levels.
11. D) oxygenates – So, we think better after a good guffaw!
12. All of the above!
13. B) lightning – “Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.”
14. A) the morning after
15. D) all of the above – “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. “Laugh and the world laughs with you, be prompt and you dine alone” by author Gerald Barzan. “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone” by Anthony Burgess.
16. C) zestful life unto God – by Henry Ward Beecher.
A) mirth – The full quote by
is “Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most
loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth.”
19. D) hot water to a frozen limb – by Benjamin Rush
20. A) old wrinkles come
22. D) art – Although there is some truth to the others. The full quote is “Most of the appearance of mirth in the world is not mirth, it is art. The wounded spirit is not seen, but walks under a disguise.”
23. B) look upon one another next morning – by Izaak Walton
And now, for a bit of mirthful fun…
24. A) March 16 - The first date settled upon for this occasion was May 24th, but later wags set the date as March 16th, thus superseding by one day the Irish festival of St. Patrick. (By the way, Urho is pronounced like “arrrrh-hoe: with a long trill of the R to represent his strength!)
25. C) Finland – Actually, he’s the patron saint of Finnish vineyard workers. There are also stories that purport that St. Patrick and St. Urho were one and the same. Supposedly, Urho heard reports of a plague of snakes in Ireland and set sail across the North Sea to lend a hand. The grateful Irish, unable to pronounce the Finnish name "Urho," (pronounced "oorlho") took to calling him The Patriarch. Eventually "Patriarch" became "Patrick."
26. B) grasshoppers - Originally the story went that Saint Urho saved his country from an influx of frogs and for this deed was to be revered forever. The enemy he drove from Finland underwent a metamorphosis from frog to grasshopper, and this now seems to be the accepted version." Variations of the legend describe the insects as locusts. Naysayers point out that there is no Finnish wine-grape crop and that the country is still occupied by grasshoppers. Others remark on the uncanny similarities to the legend of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland ( a country which, by the way, probably was never inhabited by snakes).
27. A) grapevines – St. Urho’s heroic deed saved the grape harvest! The Finns love him – at least the ones in America do!
28. C) splendid and loud voice –He banished the lot of them with a few select Finnish words, more or less simply asking (or telling) them to leave. Some claim that St. Urho wielded a rake; others say it was a pitchfork.
29. A) purple grape juice and B) green beer
30. D) all of the above
31. C) the
- The most widely held account credits the origin of the legend to a department
store manager in Virginia, Minnesota. As Aini Rajanen recounts in the book "Of
Finnish Ways" - "It started as a joke, when certain fun-loving members of
a department store staff in Virginia, Minnesota, decided to turn the tables on
their Finnish manager. On St. Patrick's Day he had been guilty of the heinous
heresy of refusing to be impressed by the Irish claims for their saint. Pooh,
said he. Finns have an even greater hero named Urho, and he told tall tales of
the saint's mighty prowess. His staff bided their time. On the day which he had
named as the feast day of St. Urho, they greeted him with a hand-carved
nutcracker purporting to be the image of the saint, a frog, and a hand-lettered
scroll on which an Irish lass (no less) had written a pidgin-Finn rhyme that
sang the deeds of his legendary hero. It was meant only as a bit of mild teasing
to be shared among themselves. But a reporter was present, and the next day the
hoax hit the front page of the Mesabi Daily News. Finns of the area, needing a
midwinter frolic during cabin fever season, seized upon it with glee. In the
space of only a few years (the original rhyme was written in 1956), the idea
spread until the celebration is now observed in [all 50] states, with governors
proclaiming with straight faces the significance of St. Urho's Tay (not
33. B) royal purple and nile green – The purple is said to signify the grapes and the green the stems of the grapevines or the dead grasshoppers, take your pick.
34. B) Mickey Finn – The story recounts that, faced with a short growing season in Scandinavia, Finnish vintners would inject their grapes with vodka to boost their alcohol content. Not to be outdone, Irish barkeeps would add knockout drops to their watery whiskey to increase the potency. These concoctions proved powerful, and the two groups were forced to share the credit for the invention, which became known as a Mickey Finn.
35. B) Menaghin, MN and C) Finland, MN - St. Urho was originally supposed to be carved out of a one-ton block of laminated oak in 1975, but a Minneapolis woodcarver took Menahga's money and never delivered. In 1982 Menahga gave the block to Jerry Ward, a traveling chainsaw sculptor, and he finally produced their 12-ft tall St. Urho. Oddly, the statue now standing along Hwy. 71 is a fiberglass replica; the original is stored in a mausoleum in the Menahga cemetery. But one St. Urho statue is not enough. There's another in Finland, MN, along Highway 1. It's an "interpretive" Urho, very much like an arty Peter Toth Indian head, carved by the late Don Osborn in 1982. It was originally planned to be 30 feet tall, but the wood was rotten, so its 18 feet will have to do. Urho has a grasshopper on his hat, no body, and he's poorly positioned facing north, assuring mediocre photos in all seasons. Click here to see photos and the inscription detailing the legend.