When was the last time you had a good hearty laugh? Not a brief chuckle or simple “Ha ha” but the kind of laugh that has your sides hurting and tears streaming down your face. With all the pain, strife and turmoil in our world, it’s easy to miss out on the little joys of life. Yet humour plays a big part in our lives than we may know.

Humour simply refers to the ability to perceive the comic or absurd quality of life; the faculty of expressing the amusing or comical; good temperament. It is only through humour that we see and appreciate some of the beautiful things in life. Humour is also an essential instrument in the key to finding happiness. Consider the people you enjoy being around most, and the people that make you happiest. Think about some of your favourite memories with them. In many instances, these treasured memories probably involve humour and laughter. Humour is also one of the primary things that enables us to overcome the difficulties of life.

Humour is infectious. Shared humour binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Among the important factors that strengthen our relationships by triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connection are humour and playful communication. Laughing with one another creates a positive bond, which acts as a strong safeguard against stress, disagreements, and disappointment.

You’ve also probably heard the old adage that says laughter is the best medicine. Laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humour and laughter reinforce your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. The best thing about all these benefits is that laughter as a medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

Do you take yourself too seriously? It’s important that you learn how to laugh at yourself and to forgive and admit your shortcomings. This enables you to let go of negative emotions like bitterness, resentment and anger, and helps you to endure things more easily. Humour allows us to view things in a new light. We can then see the foolishness of our fixations, our hypocrisies and inconsistencies, and our tendency to see ourselves as the center of the universe.

 It’s been debated whether or not humour can count as a virtue. Some have argued that humour can make us better people by helping us let go of our inflated feelings of self-importance that can be brought on by too much seriousness. Humour helps us to become better people by keeping us humble, allowing us to smile at our limitations, and avoiding despair. This in turn allows us to relax our guarded egos, humbling us without harming us.

If we learn to laugh often and see the humour in everyday things, then life becomes a lot easier and generally a lot happier. Humour helps us to appreciate all of the good that is around us. Learn to see things through humour and discover that life isn’t too bad after all.

Reflections

If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

Robert Frost (1874 – 1963), American poet

A good laugh is like manure to a farmer – it doesn’t do any good until you spread it around.

Michael Pritchard, American actor and comedian

By starving emotions we become humorless, rigid and stereotyped; by repressing them we become literal, reformatory and holier-than-thou; encouraged, they perfume life; discouraged, they poison it.

Joseph Collins (1866-1950), American neurologist

 Humor is always based on a modicum of truth. Have you ever heard a joke about a father-in-law?

Dick Clark (1929 –2012), American radio and television personality

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813 –1887), American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker

You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.

Bill Cosby, American comedian, actor, author, and educator

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

Charlie Chaplin (1889 – 25 December 1977), English actor, comedian, and filmmaker

Your thoughts…

As I grew up, I came to understand how our human perception of life events determines our happiness. I see humour as an important component of coping with life’s challenges. I see humour in all manner of things. For example, I wonder why the authors of the bible depict Jesus Christ as a man who never had a funny moment.

Mary Kittakah, 31, Psychotherapist

Published in June 2014