Laughter is the best medicine

19/03/21Laughter is the best medicine

Today is Comic Relief Day 2021, or as it has been nicknamed, Red Nose Day. It began in 1985 when two comedians, Lenny Henry and Richard Curtis decided to use the gift of comedy and fun to tackle poverty and injustice, and in particular, the Ethiopian famine.

It has since raised over £1 billion, through allowing people to let loose, have some fun and do crazy things for a good cause. From simple acts of wearing red noses and dying one’s hair red, to huge concerts and charity events, most people have got behind the fun fundraiser in some way or another. Since the global pandemic began, the need for supporting good causes has never been greater…but with all that is going on, have we forgot how to have fun?

The term, “Laughter is the best medicine” (a term we are all familiar with) actually comes from the bible! Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart is like medicine” and indeed, when we laugh, there are so many positive benefits for us.

Laughter stimulates blood flow, reduces stress, relaxes tense muscles, distracts us from our symptoms, and helps with mental distress and physical illness. Nowadays, many people even take laughter therapy classes!

Laughter can give a new perspective on life. When you laugh more your health improves and it helps you stay positive. Positive thinking helps us to recover from physical illnesses and mental distress. It also helps to resolve conflict, especially when we learn to laugh at ourselves.

Laughter also pushes away depression. Laughter can be said to be a kind of anti-depressant, which relieves you from stress and anxiety, uplifts your mood and gives you a lasting feeling of happiness. Also, hearty laughter enhances mindfulness, and is a natural way of overcoming the feeling of anger.

Knowing these facts is one thing, but when you are feeling anxious and down, laughter does not come naturally. The other day, I was walking down the street with the world on my shoulders, when I heard laughter. I looked to see a small child, and became aware of all the small children on my walk who were laughing. Their laughter was contagious! Researching into this I discovered that the average adult laughs around 17 times a day, but the average pre-schooler around 400 times per day!

Have you noticed how a young child will spontaneously dance when they hear music, or how they stop to notice beauty in the smallest of insects? Have we dulled our senses to the joy around us?

This weekend, maybe take a walk and choose to rejoice in the signs of spring, do something new and spontaneous, watch a funny film, really savour the flavour of the food you are eating, learn to laugh at yourself a bit more and in everything, give thanks to the One who wants to bless us with His abundant joy!