Why Laughter Really is The Best Medicine
Comedian Kevin Hart once said, “Laughter heals all wounds, and that's one thing that everybody shares. No matter what you're going through, it makes you forget about your problems. I think the world should keep laughing.”
From early childhood we are taught to laugh. There is nothing so heart lifting as seeing a baby smile and giggle and hearing childrens’ uninhibited laughter is a joy. As we grow older and more self-conscious, if we let it, our laughter becomes less frequent and more controlled.
The power of laughter is an amazing tonic and a sense of humour should be the first thing you look for when making friends and developing relationships. Luckily I am surrounded by family and friends that all enjoy a good laugh. When I am fed up, cross, tired.. my husband and children can usually find a way to joke me out of it and once I have cracked a smile my mood immediately lightens. Being part of a family and friendship group that loves to laugh lifts you up. We all feel down in the dumps sometimes and we need those ‘go to’ friends that can make us giggle.
There are many good reasons why I love my sister but one of the most important is her sense of humour. She can always make me laugh and I don’t mean just a smile and a chuckle but real belly laughing, wiping eyes, doubled over hysteria. I mean, it does make sense - we were brought up by parents who had a great sense of the ridiculous and who could find fun in just about everything. A trait we have both inherited and one we use to great advantage.
Just the other day in a restaurant toilet she had me crying with laughter - using the wall to hold me up - making fun of herself and her stress at moving house. Ladies finding us doubled up laughing must have thought we were mad but couldn’t help smiling and laughing themselves - after all laughter is contagious. Whenever I find life over-whelming or just plain boring I know that a conversation with my sister will have me giggling, laughing and snorting. Sometimes she just has to raise an eyebrow, look at me in a certain way to start me off - we find everything funny. Even Brexit!!
We both have a wicked sense of humour and can often find the most inappropriate situations hilarious - at some of the saddest times in our lives we have been able to see the funny side, often to the bafflement of others but for the sanity of us. Growing up with this ability to find humour in the mundane and everyday and to laugh at ourselves has enabled us to look on the bright side and made us “half full’ kind of girls.
Now for the ‘sciencEy’ bit…
It’s well documented and an accepted belief that laughter is good for us. Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, releases endorphins, improves blood circulation, improves your mental health, relaxes your mind and improves your problem solving skills. Put simply laughter is good for us for countless reasons;
1. HumoUr can have a notably positive effect on your relationship.
2. The ability to laugh and make others laugh increases your sex appeal.
3. Those who laugh more often have a greater sense of psychological well-being.
4. Being able to laugh in the face of challenges breeds resilience.
5. HumoUr can increase your pain tolerance ... really.
6. Laughing makes you smarter.
I am sure we could all do with some work on those laughter skills in the same way we work on keeping our body supple and in good shape. Here are my top tips for some extra chuckles…
Surround yourselves with people who make you laugh.
Look at things from a different perspective - you can find humour just about everywhere.
Watch, listen or read lighthearted programmes, books and podcasts - Current favourites include Catastrophe, Cold Feet (TV), Paddington 2, Tully (Films), Normal People, The Humans (Books) Anna Faris is Unqualified and My Dad Wrote a Porno (Podcasts).
Comedy Gold - like everything else changes over time but there are always classics that never fade. You can always find an episode of Friends and for those of you too young to remember Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Only Fools & Horses, Vicar of Dibley and Absolutely Fabulous get on to Comedy Gold and download them.
Funny films- Little Miss Sunshine, When Harry Met Sally, Groundhog Day, The Hangover, Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters, National Lampoon and The Blues Brothers are guaranteed to cheer you up.
Live comedy is always a winner - for some reason comics are even funnier in the flesh - I still laugh at the memory of seeing Billy Connelly in his heyday at the Manchester Apollo and having to hold my cheeks down as they were physically hurting with laughing so much.
I love great comedy but for me the people who make me laugh the most are the people who know me best. Maybe thats why it’s my sister - who knows me back to front and inside out, who is always there for me no matter what - is my ‘go to’ when I need to let my guard down and just lose myself in the best medicine of all - a right good laugh!!