I work in an environment that can be extremely stressful at times (as most of us do). Our lives have become a mad rush from beginning to end and because of the ease of travel and the cellphone, everything has also become faster and more urgent. You send a message, you expect an answer straight away. No-one wants to wait a moment longer.
I remember my sister-in-law telling me when her father, a lawyer, used to have travel to Cape Town from Johannesburg for a court case, they used to go by train which took a couple of days. While on the train they had plenty of time to prepare for their case and also rest as no-one could get hold of them, no cellphones, no e-mails, no contact whatsoever with the world at large. Nowadays it is unthinkable to be out of reach for a couple of days. Even while travelling by plane, people work on their laptops, scared to miss out on a few minutes of work and as soon as you land, the phones get switched on again.
This is the time we live in.
There is an antidote though – laughter. If you can see the humour in any stressful situation it immediately eases the tension. I’m lucky to have people around me who feel the same way and some days here in our office we do just that – we banter, make silly jokes and mostly just laugh. On days like these you breathe easier, feel more energetic and is mentally more capable of dealing with the nitty grittys. The days when we don’t, the atmosphere becomes somber and heavy, you feel depressed, tired and even sometimes a little bit sorry for yourself.
Laughter has such wonderful healing capabilities. It boosts the immune system, lifts your mood, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles and strengthens relationships, just to name a few. Some time ago I read the book by Norman Cousins “Anatomy of an illness” in which he shares his story of overcoming and conquering a very crippling, debilitating and irreversible disease by using laughter to boost his body’s natural ability to heal. He watched hours and hours of silly slapstick movies and just laughed as loud and as long as he possibly could. He found that he could go longer without pain medication after a laughing session and the laughter not only healed his body but also his mind. Never underestimate the power of laughter!
Dr Madan Kataria who is the world’s foremost proponent of ‘laughter as medicine’ has had tremendous results in the rehabilitation of patients, especially heart problems and chronic illnesses. His laughter yoga has already changed so many people’s lives.
When was the last time you laughed from deep within your belly like you did as a child?
This week, go out and laugh! Laugh about your silly job, your silly wants and needs that are dictating your life! See the humour in your busy, hectic day. Laugh with friends and family and build those relationships. Laugh when you get up and laugh before you go to sleep!
I will leave you with this small quote out of the book Blood Safari by Deon Meyer :
“There is only so much room for baggage. If you bring in humour and light-heartedness, you must throw rancor and melancholy overboard.”