Laughter is still the best medicine

Have we not all become such a serious bunch lately? So seldom laughing, almost as if the world is ending tomorrow. Worrying about infection, vaccinations and loss of our personal data. I did not say the word WhatsApp. Have we forgotten that laughter is still the best medicine?

Yes, Covid is real and I am not suggesting that we don’t take it seriously, however, this is certainly not the first crisis humanity has faced since our unsolicited arrival on this planet. I remind you of smallpox, the bubonic plague, cholera and influenza, to name a few of the ruthless diseases we have faced over the centuries.

All the seriousness in the world will not change the fact that the human race is destined to face challenges. We live on a round planet for starters, one spinning entirely to its own beat, zero human intervention required, in the midst of billions of stars, planets and asteroids. Not to mention that we barely dodge being obliterated by meteors and the likes on a regular basis. The fact that we are all still hanging on is in itself rather miraculous.

So why so serious people?

“While working from home don’t forget to try your jeans on every now and then. Pyjamas will have you believe that all is well in the kingdom”.

Life on this strange planet is a miraculous gift. Yes, it has a shelf life, we know that, so why not squeeze every last drop of joy out of each and every moment? Unless you are watching Carte Blanche, that is the only exception I am prepared to make; Carte Blanche is definitely the thief of joy. Don’t watch, just don’t do it! Step far away from the television on Sunday evenings at 18h00 just to be safe.

Not only are we sweating the serious things for all they are worth, no, as if that’s not enough we fuss about the traffic light taking too long to change, because yes, that traffic light has it in for just you. We complain about everything, I mean everything. Food prices, the weather, fuel prices, the dog barking at 12pm purposefully ripping you from a nightmare-infused sleep. What the hell is all this complaining going to change? Tell me if all your moaning and groaning has ever opened a door for you?

“I am not talking to myself, I am having a parent-teacher conference”.

Did you know that it is quite OK if you do not read the latest Covid infection and mortality rates first thing in the morning? Seriously, knowing or not knowing, how does that lift your mood and contribute to your overall levels of joy? Also, that Zoom call during which your toddler ran into the room screaming wildly that her Mommy is going to kill her, truly, no-one really cares that much. It’s simply life during “lockdown”, the new normal.

Why don’t we choose to laugh as often as possible?

Let’s face it, you are in fact a funny creature. Just watch yourself yelling at the TV, honking on your horn the minute you see the smallest infringement on the road, screaming abuse at people who often cannot even hear you, arguing with views expressed by people you will never meet, and defending a position you have taken on a subject you often know almost nothing about because you must have a view, and defend it you most certainly will.

Do you realise that as a member of the human race you are already a miracle? In fact, you are a one of a kind miracle. No-one else out there is quite like you. You are incredible. So why are you so willing giving up your joy for transient things you have no control over?

Now more than ever we should be embracing laughter as a remedy. Yes, have a good old chuckle at your own seriousness. When last did carrying a perpetual frown, shoulders dragging and growling at the world ever result in anything positive?

“Nothing like relaxing on the couch after a long day of being tense on the couch”.

Laughter is still the best medicine

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. It’s true, laughter is powerful medicine. Nothing works faster or more reliably to bring your mind and body back into balance.

Laughing also burns calories. No, don’t sell the gym equipment just yet, it’s not a replacement for exercise, however, one study found that laughing for between 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories.

Oh, and one benefit not to be sniffed at is that laughter helps you stay mentally healthy, and it is really contagious (laughter, that is, not the mental health issues). It is that good kind of contagious which does not need to be hidden behind a mask.

Today’s issue is that we hardly ever see each other smiling any more, so when you get a moment to laugh with others, just do it. Find a reason to celebrate. Watch a funny movie rather than entrenching yourself only in the news. Read a funny book rather than only feasting on the latest social media posts about death, destruction, conspiracy and load shedding.

Whoever said “out of sight, out of mind” never had a spider disappear in their bedroom.

“To make a mistake is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity” – William Arthur Ward.

Funny things are everywhere. Oh yes, they are, it simply depends where you are looking.

In remembering that laughter is the best medicine, could you commit to adding a dose of laughter in there, right next to the vitamin C, Zinc and Black Seed oil?


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