Laughter is the best medicine is a cliche for a reason. I’ve always heard people say it but never really thought about it. Until recently. Pre-Covid-19 I was having a difficult day. I had woken up with what felt like a dark cloud hanging over my head. My mood was low and it felt like depression was creeping in.
I struggled through the day and when I realized that we had comedy tickets for that evening, I was adamant I couldn’t go. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball, in bed and watch bad TV. Socializing or being out in public seemed the worst thing I could possibly do. And yet…
Laugh Til it Hurts
Despite everything I pushed myself to go. Reasoning that I could always leave and come back home. It was 100% the right decision. Even though it wasn’t the best comedy show I had ever seen. Despite the fact, it wasn’t someone hugely famous. But it did completely flip my mood around.
There was something about sitting in a room full of people and laughing. I laughed so hard that I struggled to catch my breath. There was no hesitant giggling or grimaces. I laughed, loud and boundless belly laughs. Tears were pricking in the corner of my eyes and I held my sides. I was a caricature of laughter.
Laugh to Freedom
It wasn’t simply the act of laughing that made my mood do a 180 that night. In that moment, in a darkened theatre, I didn’t hold back or overthink. In fact, my concerns from the day were the furthest things from my mind. For the first time that day, but probably longer, I felt well and truly free. Laughter was liberating. It freed me from the grips of my mood and the thoughts swirling in my head. The laughter helped me let go.
As I left the theatre that night I felt visibly lighter. Now I understand why people describe happiness as walking on air. That was how I felt as my feet hit the pavement. I was incandescent with joy. I could feel my happiness bubbling up inside me and threatening to overflow. And I let it. This is the only way I know how to describe it.
The Laughter Panacea
We know that laughter is good for us. The benefits include lowering our blood pressure and our stress levels. It’s good for both our physical and our mental health. I’d even heard of the new(ish) trend of laughter yoga. Although I’d never really understood the attraction before.
I think the benefits are three-fold. Yes, it’s nice to laugh; it always makes me think of the Mary Poppins song which always makes me smile. Laughter can literally put a smile on our faces. But there’s other elements too. The simple joy of laughing freed me from my thoughts and worries. I wasn’t plagued by self-doubt or concerned others would see me laughing. I was able to truly enjoy myself with no external interruptions
There was also an element of community for me too. When we laugh, we often laugh together. Whether we’re in the room or watching a comedy show filmed live virtually. Despite possibly being strangers the laughter unites us in a shared moment. I don’t think we should underestimate the power of feeling a part of something. What this all boils down to for me, is put simply, laughter is good for the body but it’s also good for the soul.
Have you had moments when you could just let go and laugh? What makes you laugh out loud? Share below!