The healing abilities of laughter and jokes

Have you ever wondered how is it possible that we laugh more during our childhood than in our adult life? Why are we taking longer in recuperating from an illness whilst we are adults than when we were children? What medical effects does laughter have in progressing our recuperation time?

We have heard the saying: “laugh and the whole world laughs with you, but cry and you cry alone.” This saying stipulates the fact that we as people seek out good, positive, and productive feelings and that we, try as we might, want to stay away from suppressive and destructive circumstances and feelings. One factor humanity thrives on and are constantly in pursuit of is the perspective of happiness.

David Niven has stated in his book The 100 simple secrets of happy people that “happiness is a laughing matter”. Although this statement might seem simplistic and superficial, it holds a new perspective of life. Many scientifical studies have shown that through laughter we increase our chances of being healthier and productive beings, in comparison to people who constantly has a negative and pessimistic outlook on life. One study that magnifies and stipulates these results was done on cancer patients. One particular doctor took it upon himself to not only satisfy his patients through offering his doctorial expertise, but also to provide a comical performance every time he does his rounds. Although the comical relief did not cure the patients of their terminal situation, it did bring relief in their frustrating situation, and persuaded them to change their perspective on their future. These patients’ recovery time were three times quicker than those of the patients receiving normal treatment.

Laughter provides various productive results not only to your physical prevalence but to emotional, social, and mental wellbeing. When laughing, our brain excretes the happy endorphins into our body (the feel-good hormones), resulting into relieving pain and opening opportunities to form social connections with others, not to mention the increase it has on stress relief and the immune system. Researchers have discovered that these hormones are the same hormones that is released when doctors prescribe ant-depressants and stress relieve medication to their patients. With regards to this, the best option is to laugh more, even if it is at the simplest/silliest concepts in life.

Laughing is the most affordable and effective therapy one can do for oneself. On the other hand, this is easier said than done due to the strain and demands we place on ourselves – the need to fit into societal standards. Therefore, we as adults lose the ability to laugh and lessens our opportunity to be happy in and with ourselves. The responsibilities we have as a child are but a hand-full in comparison to what adults must endure daily. These responsibilities place a great deal of strain on the mental capacity and thus can have negative effects on the emotional wellbeing and social expectations.

According to what was previously discussed, how do we lessen the burden we place on ourselves as adults? To state that one must just laugh is easy, but when there is no thrive, the practical aspect will not commence.

Here are some tips on how to get your laugh back:

  • Try to see the funny in the small things in life: David Niven said: “the ability to laugh, whether at life itself or at a good joke, is a source of life satisfaction. Indeed, those who enjoy silly humour are one-third more likely to feel happy”.
  • Do not be afraid to laugh at yourself: We are but human and make mistakes. Once we accept that we are capable of not being perfect, we can enjoy our own mishaps and tomfoolery.
  • Experiment with the idea of finding a joke every day: People love to laugh but sometimes needs the incentive and persuasion to take the step. When you induce the action, you will feel ten times better since you were the one to relieve their stress effectively.
  • Attend laughing therapy: Some people will think this is a waste of time and money since it is the easiest thing to do as a human being, but in certain circumstances this is difficult for some people to accomplish. A laugh therapist understands the deepest conflictions that you as a person is going through and can help you to overcome the boundary that is preventing you from finding the relief laughter can offer.

Everyone has painted a picture of themselves of how they want to be when they grow up. In all these visions, 9/10 have depicted a person that is full of happiness. Therefore, one can state that laughter is the paintbrush that you can choose to take and paint the happy picture you desperately need.

Take the chance. Let the pride and false perceptions stand aside and take that paintbrush to fulfil and finish your ultimate painting.   

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