The healing power of laughter

We know that laughter is a human feature and is a universal medium of communication. It shows the intelligence of a human being and his ability to reach others, even in the absence of other forms of communications.
So, when I look to the topics of laughter that circulate during coronavirus pandemic, it enable us to understand the imbalances caused by this small being in ourselves, the extent of anxiety, fear and obsessions that it has transmitted in us, which has revealed the weakness of humans and its inability to understand the course of things clearly, and its failure to give meaning to what the world is experiencing today.
Nevertheless, the father of medicine, Hippocrates, stressed that laughter is a kind of treatment, because it is a means of resistance, getting rid of cases of anxiety and depression that afflict a person. Interestingly, human being when it tries looking for its balance in an unthinkable manner, it is keen to get rid of its faults, fears and anxiety in front of risks it faces.
And perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic created a fertile field for the production of what unites groups of society and reassures individuals as well, that they are not alone in the crisis and what they think about is not definitely related to them alone, but the common denominator among the general people at the time of such crisis is laughter.
People have always resorted to comedy in raising issues central to their daily lives in times of crisis, something confirmed by the famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud. He demonstrated the deep impact of laughter and humour on the soul as a way to reduce psychological tension and reduce fear. Actually, why not? I think you will agree with me to some extent that during such period when we receive jokes from friends, we often forward them to others directly and this perhaps because we try to reach out, initiate a shared experience, and thus alleviate some fears of the people.
Therefore, it is ideal if we could consider laughter or humour therapy, where the power of smiles and laughter aid healing. It sounds that laughter change brain chemistry and may boost the immune system. So, while staying within confines of home or even work, people can boost their immunity by doing laughter yoga for 15 to 30 minutes. Truly, the laughter exercise is not very technical, but easy to perform. One has to simply laugh and continue doing it.
In the current scenario, everyone should work to strengthen his immune system and laughter, I believe it is a wonderful treatment. Some studies expressed that 15 minutes of laughing exercise a day is equivalent to 30 minutes of cardio exercise done thrice a week. A recent study explained that laughing for at least 30 minutes a day for three months reduces a second heart attack! Not only that, but some scientists went on to say that laughter yoga increases the lung capacity by ensuring controlled forced breathing. Perhaps the most important positive effect of laughter is pain inhibition, especially in people with chronic pain-causing illness (cancer and arthritis). When we laugh, we relax our muscles, reduce depression and blood pressure in some cases, in addition to reducing negative stress hormones, like cortisol and trigger the production of neuro chemicals like dopamine, which have all kinds of calming effects.
When our expectations clash with unpleasant reality and when it seems to us that we have mistaken, we absolutely need humour and laughter to minimise the impact of failure. Laughing and sense of humour, something none of us can lose, especially now, as the world has been turned upside down with such pandemic and other events. In fact, some time you need to press the pause button when you feel drowning in scary news and here humour is a good key. There are so many hurdles and difficulties you might be going through right now, but if you take a moment to laugh it off, I am sure it will make all the difference in your life.
At the end, laughter could be a key to a happy life and it is fortunate as it is sometimes contagious, transmitted from one person to another with its benefits. So, with your daily supplements, keep taking doses of laughter that will help soothe your soul and others.

Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column he can be contacted at: