August 29, 2008
I remember a quote by the world famous comedian Charlie Chaplin – “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” How true! The ability to laugh at a situation or a problem gives you a feeling of confidence and control.
Humor fosters a positive and hopeful attitude and provides a good perspective to your problems. You are less likely to succumb to feelings of depression and helplessness if you are able to laugh at what is troubling you. Laughter gives you an opportunity to release the uncomfortable emotions, which, if held inside, could create biochemical changes that are harmful to the body. When you laugh, your diaphragm is relaxed, your lungs are exercised and your heart is given a good tuning up. Special healing hormones are released. Physical exercises enhance your body muscles, while laughter provides good exercise to organs and enhances blood supply.
We often forget that life, besides being harsh, is supposed to be enjoyable too. Our elders used to tell stories to enjoy themselves. These stories evolved into folklore and were passed down as a legacy of their times, both good and bad. Laughter is an expression of happiness and wellness. It is a positive natural state that helps keep your body healthy.
A pessimistic person becomes a potential victim of high blood pressure, heart attacks, kidney disorders, anxiety, depression, peptic ulcers, nervous breakdowns and various other ailments. On the other hand, people who have an optimistic view of life, sail through life disease-free and with ease.
Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton, an American comedian who was best known as a top radio and television star, once said, “I live by this credo: Have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations. Even in your darkest moment, you usually can find something to laugh about if you try hard enough.”
Laughter is a valuable tool even in the workplace. Your ability to see the humor in a situation and to laugh freely with your coworkers can be an effective way to take care of your own body, mind and spirit.
Dr. Madan Kataria founded the first Laughter Club of India in Kolkata, where people assemble in the morning for a bout of laughing and find it intensely therapeutic. In most such clubs, laughter has been molded into yoga. “Pranayam,” meditation and various fitness exercises are incorporated into the program along with laughter techniques. This has gained popularity in the current times as “the laughter therapy” or “hasayog.” Different clubs have developed their unique techniques for such exercises. But there is still much in common – in all of these places, people laugh for no reason, clap and chant “ho ho ha ha ha” or “very good, very good yeah!”
It can produce anti-inflammatory agents, which can aid back pain or arthritis.
It encourages the muscles to relax, and exercises muscles all over the body, from the scalp to the legs.
It reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
It is also thought that laughter may possibly aid the immune system responses, although the evidence for that is primarily anecdotal.
It exercises facial muscles to prevent sagging.
It boosts the production of “feel-good” endorphin hormones.
University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore
University of Maryland School of Medicine
The latest research in the field of medicine has convinced the experts that laughter is the best medicine. A sick person regains his health faster if he is able to laugh. The only way to control stress is to control the mind. One way to cope with this situation is to develop a healthy sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself. It is the most efficient way of stress busting. Besides, it helps remove toxins from the body, protects you from illness, increases your vitality and leaves you glowing with health.
How can you bring more laughter into your life? First examine those instances that cause you to get all worked up and irritated and realize that there is another way to respond to such situations. See the lighter side of things. Associating with people who are naturally funny also helps. They can teach you to make light of circumstances beyond your control.
Making people laugh is an art and can be cultivated. Collect jokes, funny anecdotes, cartoon quips, humorous quotations, etc. and use them appropriately – in ordinary conversation, in your speeches, in social gatherings, etc. Build a humor collection – buy books that set you chuckling. Stick cartoons on your fridge. Tape re-runs of comedy serials- watch them when you are down in the dumps.
Humor and laughter can create an environment where hope can flourish because it provides a sense of joy, helps us connect with family and friends and inspires an appreciation and gratitude for life. You don’t need a reason to be happy. If you look for reasons to be happy, you will often find yourself coming up with reasons to feel sad.
So let your self go and laugh – and enjoy life to the fullest! After all, there’s no age-bar on laughing!