Staying strong: why is laughter the best medicine?

by Spanner in the Works

By Stuart Torrance, Men’s Health Project Officer

Think about the last time you had a good laugh.

I bet you felt better for it! It feels like your whole body is alive and active. The ‘feel good’ is everywhere.

The jaw is sore, the ribs bursting…and yes there might be tears and other damp areas depending on how hard you let go.

I recall my brothers and I would have tickle fights. If mum caught us fighting for real, we’d be in for it as our pint-sized mum took no prisoners. The alternative was a safer bet but no less ruthless.

Punishing laughter filled the house.

With 5 boys at each other all the time, our neighbours must have wondered about the raucous noise that would explode numerous times a day.

Through the rough and tumble and the laughter, spirits would rise and everyone got a good dose of endorphins.

Our stress reduced, euphoria was induced and whatever the negative stimulus was — well it seemed to disappear.

The Shed Wireless host Aaron Kearney and I had a chinwag about laughter being the best medicine on the podcast the other day and I found his perspective interesting.

Aaron suggested we should be looking at both sides of the coin. For example, how much worse does negativity and fear make us feel?

In this time of COVID-19, it’s very easy to slip into the doldrums.

And to become anxious and overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the reporting in the news. Not to mention the abusive and negative comments on social media platforms about everything from travel restrictions and masks, to job losses.

As a matter of fact I could do with a good laugh right now.

There are laughter groups that have moved online. I like this one: laughteryoga-australia.org/skype-laughter-club

What we’re all after (and some of us can’t get right now) is a visit to our Shed for a good laugh with our mates. We know it’s good for our heart health, improves connectivity in the brain and dispels social isolation with connectivity and endorphins, serotonin and cortisol.

Let us know what makes you happy and improves your wellbeing? We might just publish your story in the Spanner in the Works? newsletter.

Join Stuart Torrance and Aaron Kearney for ‘Staying Strong’ on The Shed Wireless (the podcast all about Men’s Sheds). Why laughter is the best medicine is discussed in Episode 3 | Season 2

To see  a Service and Maintenance Schedule specific to your age group, go to this link: malehealth.org.au

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