Millar: If the world is getting you down, laugh

There is good reason laughter is called humanity’s best medicine

Sadly, as I have been told I am not permitted to keep the office Christmas lights up until March like I had my heart set on, I have been looking for ways to keep my spirits up and emanate a jovial aura to those around me.

Throughout this past week, in speaking with various people, they have voiced to me their glumness of duller moods after the holiday season lit a short blink of a beacon in the winter and pandemic darkness.

Upon reminiscence of happier times, I remembered a summer shopping trip my sister Lala and I took to the metropolis of Toronto. As we site-saw from the top of an open-aired double-decker bus, the sound of laughter overcame our ears. As we disembarked the bus at Dundas Square, we ventured over to see a mass of more than 100 people waving their arms in the air laughing maniacally without any inhibition.

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As we questioningly looked at each other with sister mind-reading skills, we didn’t need to vocalize the letters WTH? In public? However as we stood there watching in the sweltering Ontario summer heat, something in the air through the humidity hit us.

It was an infection. No, it wasn’t SARS, it wasn’t a cold or flu and definitely wasn’t coronavirus.

We each started to giggle at the sight of the hoard of adults dressed in ties, suits, and high heels prancing like unabashed children in the core of downtown. Our giggles grew into chortled sounding throaty noises, and soon laughter we could no longer contain escaped via our own lungs. We had been infected by a public laughter therapy session. Soon, we were joining in the merry activity with our own arms and legs dancing to the rhythm of happiness.

I am sharing this with you because while we all wait for the COVID vaccine, I believe laughter is still the best medicine for humanity. The human brain does not recognize a fake laugh from a genuine laugh – so just give it try. I promise no one is watching.

When you laugh in a stressful situation those happiness endorphins will still be released to lighten your mood and relieve stress. This happens if you are forcing a laugh or genuinely laughing.

Workplaces, classrooms, and families in living rooms can partake of the activity which while forced at first, will soon become a hilarious and joy-filled experience.

Here are some laughter therapy tips to create your own lightened mood.

1) Clap your hands in a rhythm. This will activate acupressure points and engage others around you. (They may think you are bonkers to start with, but just accept this is the process)

2) Do some deep breathing exercises. This will help relax your lungs, increase focus, and lighten the mood.

3) Wave your arms above your head, point to the sky, tilt your chin back, and let your laughter loose. Laugh like that uninhibited child with-out a care in the world. Your laughter should be coming from your heart. (I can personally attest that this one works)

4) You can try imitating someone else’s voice.

5) Swing both your arms in front of your body, chanting ho ho ho, ha ha ha. This will activate both sides of your brain.

If you happen to pass by The Northern View and we are outside dancing, join us, but wear a mask.

Happy laughing.

K-J Millar writes for the Prince Rupert Northern View. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

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