Laughter is the Best Medicine
We all know the saying "laughter is the best medicine", but how often do we reach for a laugh instead of a pill or tablet? According to Dr Soroush Habibi* children laugh on average 400 times a day whereas adults only laugh around 15 times a day. In the past society and advertising have taught us to reach for drugs to cure our ailments, but as we are becoming more aware of the benefits of natural remedies we are learning that a cure for pain can be as simple as a good hearty laugh. Uncle Albert in the classic Mary Poppins laughed so hard that he floated up to the ceiling. Doesn't laughter feel so good that at times we feel as if we are floating?
Pain can be used to describe stress, sadness, loss, depression, physical injury or sickness and it can go as far as describing embarrassment or disappointment. At times we feel pressured to take pain very seriously. In these situations we feel that we should be crying not laughing because it's a time for sympathy and jokes or humour are frowned upon as most inappropriate. If we take all painful experiences seriously we set ourselves up for a pretty solemn life. When we are able to have a sense of humour through our misery it gives us a chance to release some of the pressure and allows us to still acknowledge and address the pain, yet maintain a connectedness to the understanding that everything is going to be okay and nothing is the end of the world... except the end of the world.
When we look at the irony of any given situation there's always an opportunity for comedy, even in the midst of horrific pain, a change of perspective can trigger a therapeutic laugh. I'm not saying that if someone is in pain we should point at them and laugh, I'm saying if we are able to find the humor in our own pain then we can encourage those around us to laugh and instead of misery spreading misery we spread laughter and hope.
Misery loves company, but so does laughter!
Benefits of laughter
* Save money and look younger: a simple smile releases natural chemicals in the face which cause a youthful effect in the skin. Put your wrinkle cream or injection money toward seeing a funny movie, going to see some stand up or spending time with family and friends. I know my family and friends can still make me laugh more than any comedian.
* Healthy lungs & immune system: laughter can help clear mucus from your lungs and it increases the concentration of immunoglobulin A in your saliva which helps fight off colds, flu and sinus.
* Healthy heart: laughter increases circulation and improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout your body.
* Tone up: We all know that a good laugh can result in aching abs the next day. A hearty laugh exercises our neck, chest, abdomen and diaphragm!
* Fight stress and pain: laughter raises the levels of endorphins and T-cells which releases stress, aids in pain relief and works like a natural tranquilliser.
* Relaxation: laughter's tranquilliser effect naturally relaxes the body. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine after a hard day, reach for a joke instead.
* Happiness: the most obvious benefit of laughter is increased happiness.
They say bad news travels fast, but when we make an effort to spread funny stories instead our laughter becomes contagious and ripples through society lifting the energy of towns, cities and countries until happiness is a more powerful force. "...and the more the glee... he he he he... the more I'm a merrier me..." (from the song I love to laugh, Mary Poppins).
*Dr Soroush Habibi owns ProWellness, Port Melbourne:
His ebook Nutritional Healing can be purchased here: nutritional-healing