“Laughter has a way of instantly connecting people and is one of the most basic and fundamental ways in which we communicate as human beings. But more than that—laughter can increase confidence, self-esteem, creativity, positivity and resilience, bringing positive changes to all aspects of our lives.”
—Joe Bluett, laughter consultant
Laughter, it is said, is the best medicine and one of the most effective tools to keep relationships on an even keel. Laughter also bonds people during difficult times and creates a positive environment. It helps you tide over crises, disappointments, and loss. It also helps you escape your lows and gives you hope. Even in the most difficult times, a smile can go a long way in making you feel better. As the famous actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin said, “Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.”
Sunday POST talked to a few medical professionals and satirists to know how laughter can ease the pressures of everyday life.
According to Dr Swapnajeet Sahoo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, laughter is the facial and emotional manifestation of happiness. When one laughs, worries and stress are kept aside for a few moments. Laughter helps us form human bonds. When tickled, even primates such as monkeys, chimpanzees, and gorillas seem like they are laughing. Scientists say that laughter reduces the level of stress hormones, thus lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke, by improving blood flow to the brain. It is a tonic for the brain as it leads to the release of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins (neurotransmitters) in the brain which induces a sense of happiness. Laughter is said to enhance problem solving skills and creativity in an individual.
Eminent psychologist Catherine Fenwick says, “Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter.” Therefore, laughter is now part of many types of psychological therapies for depression and other mental illness. Also, laughter is a part of yoga (hasya yoga).
For satirist Pritikanta Panda of Bhubaneswar, “Laughter is a fragrance that removes bad odours like stress and worries from our life. It’s the most valuable cosmetic product that beautifies the ugliest face. Besides that, it’s a drug which can be addictive. For a satirist, laughter is everything.” Pritikanta, who is popularly known as Hasyakabi Dr Kulangara in Odisha, adds, “Laughter is the birthright of every human being. Infants also begin smiling during the first week of birth. Laughter is a medication that protects your heart.”
Another famous satirist in Odisha, Pravakar Nayak alias Srijukta Satyanash says, “Laughter keeps tiredness away. It also strengthens the bonds between human beings. For a comedian or satirist, it’s not easy to make people laugh. We get joy when people laugh from the heart. It’s said laughing is a powerful stress buster tool. Humour lightens your burdens, connects you with others and keeps you grounded, focused and alert. It also helps people to get rid of negativity and be more forgiving.”
Pragnyan Ranjan Khatua, a standup comedian who has shown his talent in many TV shows and Odia films, says, “Laugher is the best medicine to give you a feeling of wellness. It also gives relief from pain, sorrows and anxiety. As a comedian, I love to make people laugh. Now, people in urban areas go to parks or therapy centers to practice hasya yoga. But the laugher that comes from within is the best. Since childhood, I have been making people laugh with my own style of cracking jokes. I have made a name in the field of entertainment. Now that it has turned into a profession for me, I will continue to make people happy as long as possible.”
“To be able to make others laugh is a blessing and it feels nice to be a humorist,” says Sudeb Mohapatra, who is also known as Nonsense Mani among his fans in the state. “Since childhood, I have made my classmates laugh by cracking jokes. With my distinct style of presentation, I found fans among my mates and the teachers.” Sudeb said he was blessed to have the skill of making others chuckle, though he has to keep researching to present something new to his audience each time. He believes that laughter helps people overcome stress, anger, jealousy and other negative emotions. It also increases energy levels.
So next time you hear something funny, laugh whole-heartedly to be healthy and live longer.
Bratati Baral, OP