Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine
We remember laughter with fondness.
When I was a child, my father made us laugh. He, like many other people, knew laughter was the best medicine.
But as his eyesight failed, as he became less and less mobile, he became angry and bitter. All the old resentments and regrets and injustices took on overwhelming importance. There were times when he would stare at the ground frowning, looking so sad and isolated. Here was the man who used to laugh so vigorously at my jokes even before I reached the punch line, and now he was hardly laughing at all.
I would visit, and when we laughed together it uplifted him. The bitterness would melt away and the good memories would return. We were able to communicate. We were closer once again. And it left us both with a good feeling when it was time for me to leave.
When he had to give up his flat, his new room had just a couple of shelves for his memories and treasures. As I sorted things in his flat, I included a teddy bear that had sat in his living rooms over the years looking incongruous but bringing him a smile. Of all the things we had brought for him, the teddy bear gave most happiness because of happy memories associated with it.
And then I became a Laughter Consultant, bringing laughter and smiles into our lives, our homes and workplaces with training days and workshops.
Do a Google search on Laughter Health Benefits and be amazed, because just by laughing and without even noticing:
– It boosts the immune, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, helps us be healthier, preventing some illnesses and enabling us to deal more effectively with others;
– It reduces the stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine), enabling us to deal better with our challenges and situations;
– It helps give relief from physical pain. Norman Cousins who lived with ankylosing spondylitis found that after 10 minutes of hearty laughing he could get two hours of uninterrupted sleep;
– It lowers blood sugar after a meal, so can help with diabetes;
– Even just thinking about laughter makes us feel good through the release of Endorphins, Serotonin and Dopamine;
– It brings people closer, breaks down barriers, helps positive thinking, reduces depression.
Laughter is a gift that is there for us to embrace.
Guest blog post by Robin Graham.
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