Reading Time: 2 minutes

Laughter is taken for granted. Think about it? When was the last time you made a conscious effort to throw a joke? Or perhaps allowed yourself to laugh and truly enjoy that laugh?

Research indicates the powerful effects of laughter in which it has been found to help improve; general health, physical pain, anxiety, and loneliness. In fact, laughter is thought to be a protective factor for us humans as we age. By this I am referring to the fact that laughter actually is considered as a factor that decreases the chances of a negative health outcome to occur. Some individuals consider laughter and silliness as the realm of the younger generation. We do in fact see that some people do not want to connect to humor or silliness as they age. It’s almost like they play a role of the ‘all knowing’ individual who cannot connect to the different parts of themselves.

Therefore what is important to remember is – to take care of our mental health throughout our lifetime. If one finds positive activities or positive avenues which help to manage an individual’s emotions, it is important to keep them throughout one’s life.

What to do from a young age to laugh in your old age:

  • Build a support network

Keep a close circle of friends around throughout your life. People come and go. However, it does not mean that if you lose touch with old friends, then you can’t make new ones! Keeping this habit up will increase one’s chances of having a support network in their older age which will help to create situations in which laughter will be integrated well within one’s life.

  • Foster your community

Select individual’s to be part of a community which would work for your specific life. Different individuals all form part of different personal micro-communities.  No man is an island, we all need each other in order to survive. Therefore, having a close community of resources and peers throughout our lifetime helps the individual feel; safer, less lonely, content to have individuals who can provide support when it’s needed.

References:

Shahidi, Mahvash & Mojtahed, Ali & Modabbernia, Amirhossein & Mojtahed, Mohammad & Shafiabady, Abdollah & Delavar, Ali & Honari, Habib. (2011). Laughter Yoga versus group exercise program in elderly depressed women: a randomized controlled trial. International journal of geriatric psychiatry. 26,322-7. doi:10.1002/gps.2545.

Ghodsbin, F., Sharif Ahmadi, Z., Jahanbin, I., & Sharif, F. (2015). The effects of laughter therapy on general health of elderly people referring to jahandidegan community center in shiraz, iran, 2014: a randomized controlled trial. International journal of community based nursing and midwifery, 3(1), 31–38.

Tse, M. M., Lo, A. P., Cheng, T. L., Chan, E. K., Chan, A. H., & Chung, H. S. (2010). Humor therapy: relieving chronic pain and enhancing happiness for older adults. Journal of aging research, 2010, 343574. https://doi.org/10.4061/2010/343574

Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.