Humour and laughter has always played a large role in my life. I hid behind the mask of class clown in an effort to be accepted by others. It allowed me to mix with people even though inside I was a quaking jelly. A joke, pulling a funny face or being able to imitate people’s accents somehow helps you integrate better. I have since always tried to make people laugh whether that be at work or at social events. Laughter saw me through some very bleak times in my life, particularly when spinal injury disrupted my life. Humour carried me through several major operations, paralysis, months of bed-ridden discomfort and anxiety.
Look at her now!
Nowadays, I write humorous articles and books. The more I write about life and its shortcomings, the funnier I seem to find things, especially the ridiculous things in life that can drag us down. Discovering you have lost all the hairs in your left eyebrow, but are now sprouting a fine moustache, can knock your confidence. Better to just shrug your shoulders, write a funny post about it then distract yourself with some silly jokes on Twitter or Simon’s Cat on YouTube.
Laughter is good for your health
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
So, laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you, even after the laughter subsides. Humour helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
More important than all of the above, laughter connects us with others. Some years ago my husband and I were invited to attend a laughter course. We snorted with derision at the whole concept but went along because it was run by a neighbour who we didn’t wish to offend.
We all lay down on the floor forming a circle, hands on bellies. We had to feign laughter. Our neighbour began. He had a wholesome, Santa Claus type of laugh that made us snicker slightly. Others joined in with high pitched laughs, contagious giggles, happy sounding chuckles and sniggers. When you emitted a laugh you felt it transmit to your stomach which made you laugh even more. That, along with the sound of laughter filling the room, soon meant that we were all guffawing genuinely, to the point of hysteria. We felt so much better after the session, as we wiped away tears and hugged everyone goodbye.
Question: How many policemen does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: None. It turned itself in!
I read a few months ago that laughing with others is more powerful than laughing alone so try and create an opportunity to laugh with friends or family.
Watch a funny movie or TV show.
Go to a comedy club.
Read the funny pages in a newpaper or online.
Share a good joke or funny story
Play with a pet.
Check out the humour section in your local bookstore.
Read the funny birthday cards in the card shop.
Do something silly!
Question: How many line dancers does it take to change a light bulb?
Even if you don’t feel like chortling merrily, the body can be fooled by even a fake laugh and will feel benefits mentioned above.
Question: How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: Two, one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.
A recent study revealed that an average healthy child will laugh approximately four hundred times a day, whereas a normal healthy adult will laugh a mere fifteen times a day on average. I believe wholeheartedly in getting my daily dose of laughter. My mission each day is to attempt to make as many people smile or laugh as I can, and I always start each day trying to make my husband laugh. That is no mean feat in itself. It usually takes six jokes before he cracks, or tells me to shut up.
Question: What is white, fluffy and swings through the trees?
Answer: A meringue-utang.
If you feel a little low and you are struggling with life, take a dose of humour medicine. Put on some seventies or eighties music, have a little dance round the kitchen and then either watch a funny DVD or read a light-hearted book. You’ll soon find you feel better, have a smile on your face and will be singing along to ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’
Remember that life is too short. Smile while you still have teeth!
Carol E Wyer is an award-winning, best-selling author and blogger. Her novels, books and articles encourage others to age disgracefully.