Theres no doubt that humour and laughter is the best medicine we can have. It is a bit like our brain having it’s own pharmacy! it releases endorphins and seratonin natures own “feel good” chemicals to numb pain and lift our spirits.

– Laughter also reduces stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine.
– Laughter provides a physical and emotional release, like sometimes when you feel you have to laugh or you’ll cry! You can feel quite cleansed afterwards.
– It provides a good “work out” – nothing like a good belly laugh to exercise the diaphragm, contracts the abdominal and shoulder muscles, making them more relaxed, and is even a good workout for the heart!
– We sometimes use it as an antidote to negative emotions like anger and guilt,even better than just a distraction.
– Research shows that if we using humour gives us a better perspective to life’s challenges, making things seem less threatening
– Laughter connects us to other people and is contagious, lift the spirits of those around you and you will have your own spirits lifted.
– Laughter is free!
– Fake it till you make it! the brain can’t distinguish between a fake smile or a real one, so fake it! Soon you could be smiling for real.

Laughter is one of the best ways that we can make use of nature’s desire to make us feel better.
Our little band at Survivors Voice know this only too well, despite the fact that we have cried together, been angry together, and sad together, the overriding joy of us being together is how much we laugh! The banter and fun that can only come from being with people who we trust and feel safe with.

When we met our wonderful friends from Verona last October, we were all struck by their incredible humour! Their life stories and the abuses they suffered were horrific, and we cried for them, but the way t hey teased each other, their wonderful banter and joking was a tonic for us all. It wasn’t even about words, because we couldn’t all speak each other’s language, but watching them joke with each other, see the twinkle in their eyes and catching the spirit of them was a tremendous boost. I will never forget Gianni’s “papal” designer red shoes or indeed his friend’s reaction to him taking them off!!

This kind of humour is a wonderful tonic, and seems to often come out of tragedies.
So even if we don’t feel that at the moment we have much to laugh about, we need to hijack that pharmacy and make use of nature’s very own balm!

So we need to SMILE ! Smiling is the most natural response to pleasure, even babies who are born without sight start to smile at the same time as sighted babies in reaction to something pleasant. The health benefits of smiling are many fold, and so we need to smile as often as we can. Just forming the muscles of your face into the shape of a smile will make a difference to your mood. The brain will respond to that muscle change, it is the signal for it to release those “feel good”chemicals that we need . So even if you feel silly at first, start to put a big grin on your face, tell the brain you need some happiness, and it will send you some medicine.
Write out the word SMILE (or download this one!) or even cut out a picture of a smiley face and put it where you can see it to remind you!
I have it, once again, in big gold letters next to my desk! I think I will put it on the wall in front of my bed, so it is the first word I see in the morning!

Smiling is infectious
You can catch it like the flu
When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too
I went around a corner,
And someone saw my grin,
When he smiled, I realised,
I’d passed it on to him!
I thought about that smile,
Then I realised it’s worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
Could travel round the earth,
So if you feel a smile begin
Don’t leave it undetected,
Let’s start an epidemic quick
And get the world infected

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