Laughter will elevate the entire mood of a group of people, simply because its highly contagious nature. It has been proven that far more can be achieved through laughter, than any other method. Connectivity is improved, social interaction heightened and stress levels lowered. In a world reeling from financial crises, laughter is one of the few commodities that is still free.
When the world is crashing down around our ears, the one thing that can help keep you sane, is laughter. It takes the focus off more negative emotions such as guilt, anger, fear and stress. It is therefore, vitally important that we learn to embrace both laughter and tears.
It is the illogical of a situation that causes you to laugh, for a life full of only logic is boring to the enth degree. It is laughter that can make the difference between choosing to look at a situation as either a threat, or a challenge, for laughter completely alters your perspective. Many a catastrophic situation has been turned into a barrel of laughter as it is repeated as entertainment, at a later date, to friends and relatives. It is truly a case of ‘looking back and laughing’. This kind of laughter is invaluable.
A recent study revealed that knowing someone who is happy makes you 15.3% more likely to be happy yourself. Look how infectious a happy person is.
Sophie Scott, a researcher of University College London, says “We often mimic a person we are talking to and mirror their behavior?” Maybe we should practice talking in front of a mirror, to see what kind of an effect we are projecting. Maybe we need to lighten up our general presentation and become a happy germ to other people, instead a germ that creates doom and gloom.
“Your emotional state depends not just on your actions and choices you make, but also on the actions and choices other people make. Many of which you don’t even know,” said Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and medical sociologist at Harvard.
Finding laughter in daily life profoundly enhances healing and the quality of life, for laugher has many mysterious healing powers. Laughter has been used to assist in the reduction of symptoms of allergies, abdominal pain and digestive problems. Laughter also can be used to help you manage emotions of anger and fear. As well as all that, a good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders. It also leaves muscles more relaxed afterward and provides a good workout for the heart. Many say a good ten minute laugh is considered better than a 20 minute jog. Perhaps the old saying should be altered to: ‘a laugh a day keeps the doctor away’.
Laughter is something you can catch without even asking for it, or even wanting it. Have you ever played the game where you are not allowed to laugh no matter what your partner does? It just can’t be done!
High on the stress relieving list is laughter, along with sex, prayer and meditation, music therapy, and progressive muscle relaxation exercises. It is so true that to laugh is to see the whole world laugh with you, but cry and you cry alone.
Here are some people’s private thoughts on laughter.
Bill Beagley, Anglican Priest
Logic is boring. Humour by its very nature, asks you to look beyond the logical realities. After all a joke is funny because you suddenly realize it’s impossible.
Laibl Wolf, Rabbi and educational psychologist
We say laughter takes place when the soul tricks the mind, bypasses it and short circuits the thinking process. Laughter is therefore, perhaps one of the most mystical experiences of a human being. True laughter that flows from the intuitive self, is the most beautiful expression of joy and purpose of creation.
Diane Bodein Walters
I find there is a very fine line between laughter and tears. I believe a person can quickly flip from one emotion into the other. There’s a quote of Oscar Wilde ‘Where there’s sorrow there’s holy ground’. We need to be prepared for people to want to either cry or laugh. For me they both come from the same source. A deep place within the heart, the seat of our emotions. (Scientists disagree, as they say the real source is in the brain.)
For Auchwitz survivor Abraham Ckyiert, humour was not only a way of enduring the moment but it ultimately became the means of his survival. Subverting the reality of the horror of the Holocaust was where humour met its ultimate challenge.
To experience happiness through laughter, in many ways brings us closer to the basic values of our existence.
Jenny Thompson Richards (works in a terminally ill hospice)
This is a place where people really do value laughter because of this very special situation where people know they only have a short while to live. The kind of humour that we are interested in is the humour that actually allows people to embrace the deep things and to be connected together with each other. It is still the best barrier breaker in town.
Dr Fry, a psychiatrist at Stanford Medical School,
Children laugh an average of 300 times per day, while they cry at least as often as they laugh. To many people there is no closer tie to the innocence of childhood, than the emotions that evoked by the vision of a clown. So what’s in laughter for you? It is definitely time to concentrate on having more fun in your life. Seven laughless days makes for a dreary week.