Laughter is the best medicine. An age old saying that we all know and love, but do we actually understand the truth behind it?

I recently released my Massage Monday Blooper video, and it was while I was watching it back, that I realised just how important humour is in my life. In fact, in all of our lives. I take a lot of things extremely seriously, especially my work and my career, but I’m also able to see the lighter side of life when it presents itself. The blooper video got me thinking about just how important humour is, and why we all need to maintain it in our lives as much as possible.

Humour has been around for as long as humans have. In fact, I believe that even chimps and other primates laugh, so humour has probably been around even longer than us mere humans! Humour is everywhere (if we’re lucky!) Laughing is one of the first things a newborn baby will learn to do. Try to go through a day without laughing once. Not even a little snigger or snort. I guarantee you’ll find it downright impossible.

Humour unites people and triggers healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughing is a surefire way to bring your body and mind back to balance. With humour we find that our burdens are lightened, we are able to inspire hope and feel connected to others. Humour is a way of keeping us grounded, while also allowing us to release anger and forgive people faster.

Humour is Good For Our Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

Humour can help us cope with times of both mental and physical adversity. Laughter is known to strengthen our immune system, boost our mood, diminish pain, and protect us from the damaging effects of stress. You may remember that Hollywood even made a film starring Robin Williams, aka Hunter “Patch” Adams, about the true story of a man determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoyed helping people in a unique way – using humour and pathos to heal.

Humour can even help us grieve. Research conducted by Dacher Keltner and George Bonanno revealed that “The more widows and widowers laughed and smiled during the early months after their spouse’s death, the better their mental health was over the first two years of bereavement.”[1]

Humour also has physical benefits. Laughing, especially a big, booming belly laugh, has been shown to relieve physical tension and stress, help our circulation and can relax our muscles for up to 45 minutes after the laughter has stopped.

Humour is Good for Business

I bet you’re gobsmacked that I’ve been able to link this back to business development, but it’s true! Typically, and fairly obviously, people are drawn to pleasure and try to avoid pain. Therefore, many of our daily decisions are influenced by our pursuit of humour. The websites we look at, books and magazines we choose to read, the TV shows and films we watch, and the people we decide to talk to, (or not) are all influenced by humour. Humour is valued by consumers and clients, therefore to allow your sense of humour to shine (where appropriate), in your brand and in your company, can have a positive effect on your client base and how they view you.

How to Develop Your Sense of Humour

Most importantly, it’s about not taking ourselves too seriously. Watch my blooper video and you’ll see what I mean! We need to be able to laugh at our mistakes and the little idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. Even though we’d like to think otherwise, we all do silly things occasionally. Instead of being defensive, or embarrassed when we do something foolish, we should try to embrace our imperfections. Although there are, of course, certain moments in life that we do need to take seriously, a lot of the time we have the choice whether to laugh or not. My advice to you would be – always choose to laugh when you can.

Humour has so much power to heal, and the ability to laugh at ourselves, and with others, is a great asset that can help us find our way through the adverse and trying times in life. It can help us strengthen our relationships, both personally and professionally, while also improving our physical and mental health. It’s a medicine that requires no prescription, it’s fun and best of all, it’s free.

  1. accessed 16/1/2019
Susan Findlay
Susan Findlay

My name is Susan Findlay and like most of the people I teach, I came to sports massage & remedial soft tissue therapy by way of a journey.

My journey began with classical dance and gymnastics back in my home country, Canada. When your body is the tool that you work with, you learn to take notice of it and it was this interest in the human body that led me to retrain as a nurse.

Fast-forward to 1992 and I stepped off the plane onto English soil and my future life. After briefly working for the NHS, I made the choice to be my own boss. Still in the health and fitness field, I worked with GPs and health centres, setting up different schemes for a range of clientele. Holding 20+ classes a week and running multiple health programmes, I discovered a love of teaching and enjoyed the rewards of helping clients to reach a goal.

Sports massage and remedial soft tissue therapy helps to bring all my skills together. I gained my certification in 1996 and began teaching in colleges and lecturing across the UK two years later. Although I am the director (and senior lecturer) of NLSSM, I have never given up the practical side of the profession and I still run my own clinic in North London. Keeping up with the real world helps to keep me inspired and that helps to make me a better teacher.

I’m passionate about providing the very best quality of training and that goes beyond my teaching. I sit on the board of the General Council for Massage Therapies as well as having been a Profession Specific Board member on the CNHC.

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