The Power of Laughter
Posted on August 28, 2014 by Amira Rubin
Most comedians perform their stand-up acts on stage. For Don W., Atria Regency resident and all-around jokester, the front porch is his stage.
“We call him our porch patrol. He likes to relax there and make funny comments about everything,” said Lakisha Hopkins, Resident Services Director.
Known as the community comedian, you’ll likely find Don cracking jokes as visitors pass through the main entrance. He feels that comedy provides momentary satisfaction and people always remember good jokes. He also believes that laughter reduces stress.
And science backs him up. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology claims that humor reduces detrimental stress hormones, lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow. It positively impacts mood by boosting the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, chemicals which provide a sense of pleasure and reward.
Don doesn’t keep all the fun for himself. He often leads a program called “Jokes and Cokes” on the front porch. While sipping their refreshments, residents share jokes and stories they’ve collected throughout the week. This intentional “focus on funny” encourages residents to look for humor in everyday life.
Don said he began telling jokes in high school because he thought it would make him popular – and it did. “I had to be funny to enjoy it,” he laughs.
“He is such a character!,” said receptionist Jessica Atkinson. “When a visitor recently asked what his favorite activity was to stay active, he answered: ‘Happy hour!’”
Sharing the power of laughter is a talent Don inherited from his father who used to dress up and perform skits for friends. And Don is proud to proclaim his great-grandson has inherited the family funny bone and loves to tell jokes almost as much as he enjoys hearing his great-grandpa share a few.
Residents and staff agree Don is a positive influence in the community who can be counted on to lighten the mood with a good laugh.
“He always sees the brighter side of things,” said Hopkins.