One of my favorite cartoons is Maxine – an older, crusty woman with a sarcastic sense of humour. One of her recent ones encapsulates this. She makes me smile. In these days of change, never ending negative news and projections of sadness and despair in terms of economy, lives, jobs, emotions, social gatherings and celebrations, humour is much needed! Even Mark Twain expressed his opinion saying, “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
People have different preferences when in comes to humour. My father would tell jokes and my brother does now. The majority of them had and have us chuckling at the clean and often corny punch lines. Then we have comedians who touch on the very tragedies of life, but make us laugh because if we really thought about it, we would cry. Police force members and health care workers often use “black humour” to help them deal with their situations. Humour comes in many forms and a good belly laugh is always worth the smeared mascara from laughing so hard as we wipe our tears from our eyes. What’s your favorite joke?
Knock, knock Who’s there? Banana Knock, knock Who’s there? Banana Knock, knock, Who’s there? Banana Knock, Knock Who’s there? Orange you glad I didn’t say Banana? You are welcome to tee-hee, snicker, chuckle, chortle, giggle or roar with laugher because when we express our internal emotions through the external expression of laughter, the world doesn’t seem as dismal. A friend of mine is always smiling and laughing and she tells me that has kept her moving from day to day and a reason to greet the day with a smile, laugh with others and rest her head on her pillow at night.
Humour has both short-term and long-term benefits. From increasing endorphins released by the brain, to stimulating organs and intake of oxygen, humour can also relieve stress and tension to help with muscle relaxation. Improving self-esteem, immune system and even relieving pain, humour makes us connect with people and help get us through difficult situations. So how do we get more laughter in our lives?
- Visual or auditory reminders is one way to start. Watch funny movies, TV shows or videos. Start a bulletin board of funny sayings, cards or comic strips that make you smile. Listen to comedians. I call my sister.
- Find people that make you laugh. Getting together with others and sharing laughter is healthy. Even looking in the mirror and making yourself smile each morning is healthy. I sometimes listen to a baby laughing on my computer. It’s infectious!
- Find joke books or share some of them on social media or emails. An older friend sends me a laugh a day. Then I pass them on to other seniors.
- Never laugh at the expense of others, but sometimes one can’t help but chuckle at the absurdities that some people believe, think or do!
And so, the mantra above my fire place says “Live, Love, Laugh” and I truly believe that using humour in our daily lives is good for the body, the mind and the soul. Smile and the world smiles back at you.