When you look around the world today, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s not much to laugh about. There’s a lot to be sad about, that’s for sure, but to laugh about? That’s not so obvious.
Yet it is true: laughter is strong medicine. People who study these things tell us that laughter draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most challenging times, a laugh–or even a smile–can go a long way towards making you feel better. When we start getting overwhelmed by events humour, even dark humour, can calm the situation down and help us see ways through.
And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter makes you smile.
Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent.
Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.
There are strong links between laughter and both physical and mental health.
After all, it’s difficult to feel anxious, angry, or sad when you are laughing.
Thomas Hillas, Life Coach and Counsellor. Pendine. August 2023