The best medicine

Laughter

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Ever laugh so hard you snort? I was rewatching “My Name is Earl” on Netflix tonight and I snorted with laughter, and not just once either. What a great feeling, laughing with total abandon, without trying to make it pretty. Our society has an odd relationship with laughter. There is a right volume, right pitch, right duration and right timing. Defy any one of these rules of merriment and you face odd looks or even ridicule. So many rules just to have fun. No wonder adults don’t laugh as much as kids. Indeed to grow up is all too often linked with getting serious and stopping all the laughing.

So silly really. Laughter releases wave after wave of endorphins, the body’s own opium, and in turn boosts the immune system. That endorphin hit is probably the reason behind getting a fit of the giggles. We all have felt the tension releasing lightness following a good laugh. Our interaction with each other is smoother after we share a communal laugh. Laughter is the lubricant.

My hope is that one day everyone feels free to laugh as long and as hard as they like. Without being shushed or admonished. A few months ago I went to the Garden Variety Show in Calgary. There was a lady in the audience who had a delightful snorty kind of laugh. Her laugh was natural and sincere. She bravely made no effort to cover up her unusual laugh. On a subtle level she gave us all permission to laugh as we liked, natural and unguarded. It made the fantastic show all the more enjoyable. It was probably the best comedy I have seen live in my life. But maybe it wasn’t the jokes that made it so good, maybe it was just the permission to laugh with abandon.

When we have the courage to be ourselves, we give everyone around us permission to do the same. So practice your snorty laugh and make it a habit. 😀

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