“We don’t laugh because we’re happy. We’re happy because we laugh.” —William James
First it was Friends. Years later, the Rick Mercer Report, followed by Schitt’s Creek. Now I know why I looked forward to these shows so much.
They were laugh-out-loud funny.
According to research, laughter relaxed me and boosted my mood-enhancing hormones. My friend’s or husband’s laughter would spur on my own and we bonded over the inside jokes we were creating. Like when ice cream trickled out my best friend’s nose when we were giggling through a Friends episode in high school.
The physical, mental and social benefits of laughter are numerous and widely reported. A CBC article also suggested a few potentially negative effects of a side-splitting chuckle. As I’m not a hernia sufferer or asthmatic, my greatest risk factor is more related to embarrassment than negative health effects.
However, it’s not just middle-aged women who’ve given birth that may, um, leak. My eleven year-old rushed to the bathroom last week when we faced off in a burrito duel (that’s right, burrito duel). The wide target I bent over and surprised her with caused some delirium.
Scientists have proven that the benefits of laughter are the same whether laughter erupts spontaneously or it’s simulated, or self-induced. It’s no joke that practices like laughter therapy and laughter yoga are catching on.
It turns out there’s something to that old saying that laughter is the best medicine. It’s also free, and can be self-administered at home, as often as you wish.
Although I’m not currently watching a comedy series, I have a goal to laugh more. I will say ‘yes’ to playing Throw Throw Burrito, pause to enjoy my dogs antics and scroll the tweets on “Live from Snack Time”. Thank you miss Dancer
But first, I’ll visit the bathroom.
Beth Elliott is a mother, children’s writer, and SEL supporter living in Ottawa, Ontario. Visit her at bethelliottwriter.com