Even animals find time to laugh
Take time to laugh and have fun
Dr. Raymond A. Moody's book 'Laugh after laugh: the healing power of
humour' is an interesting read. He is a well-known philosopher,
psychologist, physician and author in the USA. Dr. Moody credits his
sense of humour for getting him through the terrible grind of medical
school. Yet not once, in all those years of training, did his professors
bring up the health benefits of laughter.
"As time went on," Moody relates in his book, "1 came to feel that a
human being's ability to laugh is just as valid an indicator of his
health as are all those other things that doctors check."
Gradually, many members of the medical establishment are coming
around to the same thinking. Dr. William Fry, Jr., a Stanford University
researcher, has studied the beneficial effects of laughter for more than
30 years. "When we laugh," Fry explains, "muscles are activated. When we
stop laughing, these muscles relax. Since muscle tension magnifies pain,
many people with arthritis, rheumatism and other painful conditions
benefit greatly from a healthy dose of laughter."
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. 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.
You can begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and
laughter and build from there. Eventually, you'll want to incorporate
humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in
everything you do.
Here are some ways to start:
Count your blessings. The simple act of considering the good things
in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier
to humour and laughter. When you're in a state of sadness, you have
further to travel to get to humour and laughter.
When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humour and laughter
are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More
often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives
them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humour you find in
it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, "What's funny?"
Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh
easily-both at themselves and at life's absurdities-and who routinely
find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and
laughter are contagious.
Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, "What's the funniest
thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?
How do you develop your sense of humour?
The easiest answer, according to Dr. moody, is to take yourself less
seriously. The most essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not
taking ourselves too seriously. We've all known the classic tight-jawed
gloomy Gus who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never
laughs at anything. No fun there!
Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life
Maybe, some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter.
But most events in life don't carry an overwhelming sense of either
sadness or delight. They fall into the gray zone of ordinary life-giving
you the choice to laugh or not.
Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to
take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took
yourself too seriously. Attempt to laugh at situations rather than
bemoan them. Look for the humour in a bad situation, and uncover the
irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the
mood of those around you.
Keep things in right perspective. Many things in life are beyond our
control-particularly the behaviour of other people. While we might think
taking the weight of the world on our shoulders is admirable, in the
long run it's unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even
You have to make time for laughter. I know of a successful salesman,
who uses humour with his customers-and this means setting aside moments
for collecting and practicing funny stories. "This has been a key to
building some warm and lasting business relationships," he says, citing
a favorite line from comedian Victor Borge: "Laughter is the shortest
distance between two people."
I also know of Business consultant who found herself so squeezed for
time that she felt she might be losing her sense of fun and humour-especially
where her husband and children were concerned. "I decided to see to it
that my children received a daily dose of humour," she says.
She started off by putting funny notes and cartoons in her kids'
school lunches, on mirrors and on the refrigerator door. The rest of her
family picked up on all this. "One morning when I woke up grouchy, my
son came into the kitchen wearing a big clown nose," she recalls. "I
couldn't help laughing. This changed my whole outlook.'
Laugh when you need it most. One of my friends, a script writer for a
local politico, tells of being taken suddenly ill in an airport. He was
rushed into an ambulance, and the paramedics strapped him down, head
toward the front of the ambulances a big orange oxygen tank jammed
between his legs. "Are you all right?" the attendant asked. "Yes," my
friend replied, "unless you make a sudden stop." Seeing the humor in his
own helpless plight, he says, "made the whole experience easier for me
and for everyone else in the ambulance.
Laughter is a skill we can all acquire-because it comes naturally.
But it's also something that has to be nurtured. Perhaps no one
recognized this more than Charlie Chaplin, who summed it up best: " Joy
in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person
down deep has a pretty good grasp of life."