Laughter: Your Free Medicine


Laughter is important, not only because it makes us happy.  It also has actual health benefits.  And that’s because laughter completely engages the body and releases the mind.  It connects us to others, and that in itself has a healing effect.”

Marlo Thomas
Do you know that laughter is good therapy?  Can you remember the last time that you had a good laugh?  The kind that made you roll over on the floor holding your stomach with tears running down your face?  Just last week I experienced a few moments like these during the presidential debate.  I felt good but wondered if my neighbors thought that I was going crazy, laughing at that time of night.

According to health experts, laughing relieves stress, depression, anxiety, pain, illness and improves relationships.  Laughing is associated with being happy, responding to funny situations, or relieving tension. Laughter therapy is now becoming a healthcare specialty.

Many years ago one of our Caribbean Calypsonians (Calypso is social commentary) described the different types of laughter according to our social status.  It was a funny and witty song and made you laugh, but seriously this is one form of therapy that is healthy for you, and it is free.  Some people may need the help of a therapist to help them laugh, but I think that the majority of us would be able to do this on our own.

However, as our lives become more stressful as we rush around trying to complete our daily tasks, many of us forget to laugh, even to smile.  Sometimes you meet someone on the street or train, you smile and say hello, and the response is a frown.

At Christmas time laughter is plentiful and smiles are everywhere.  The day after Christmas we are back to our unsmiling faces.  One of the songs in the Broadway musical Mame reminds us that we need a little Christmas spirit in July and throughout the year.

Laughter as “medicine” is being used to help patients manage chronic health conditions such as cancer.   Norman Cousins described how laughter helped him to recover from a painful illness.  Sometimes as we grow older,  the stresses of lif.e overwhelm us.  The disappointments, failures, struggles, helpless or hopeless situations, losses, and put downs.  Years of racism, discrimination and stereotyping may also take their toll.

In the midst of all that is going on, we must remember that laughter is a powerful tool.  It can help us to overcome these difficulties.  One of the best and easiest ways to get more laughter into our lives is to revisit some of the TV comedies from the sixties and seventies.  They don’t make them like that anymore.

Remember Laughter is available free of cost.  Try it.


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