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Desperately seeking humour

I’m filled with envy every time I look at my nieces and nephews. Their playful laughter and carefree attitude are a reminder of what I used to be, says Aryan Vaid.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2008 17:34 IST
Aryan Vaid

Here’s an honest confession. I’m filled with envy every time I look at my nieces and nephews. Their playful laughter and carefree attitude are a reminder of what I used to be and how, somewhere along the way, I’ve forgotten to laugh.
As I gravitated towards increasing responsibility, I left my carefree ways behind. When was the last time I’d really laughed till there were tears in my eyes? I can’t recollect. <b1>

As a kid, I believed I could be whatever I chose to be. I wanted to be Superman. In my little imaginary world, I believed that I would be that when I grew up. More importantly, I believed I would always be a happy, carefree person that I was then.

High stress level
As a kid, I remember the times when I couldn’t stop laughing at almost everything. And then, as I grew up and got entangled in this never-ending rat race of life, I almost forgot to laugh.

Finding myself in situations that I couldn’t change, gave way to a dangerously high level of stress, resulting in a constant frown across my eyebrows. This replaced the simple stretching of my facial muscles that we call a smile. As adults, even when we do laugh at times, is it really a carefree laughter? No wonder there’s the famous saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

There’s strong evidence that laughter can improve our health and help to fight diseases. And yes, we’re the only species that can laugh.

Feel good
In fact, we love to laugh so much that there are actually industries built around laughter. Jokes, sitcoms, comedies and funny films are designed to make us laugh, because they make us feel good about ourselves. Recent research shows that children laugh 400 times a day, and adults only 15. Sad! As we grow up, we lose 385 laughs a day, which would have helped to keep the doctor away. In fact, to make up for this, we’ve had to start Laughter Clubs.

Reason to laugh
Even forced laughter seems to be better than a natural state of despair. Laughter should be used as a mechanism to cope with stress although it seems to be used only as an outlet for the emotion, which is produced by humour or happiness.
Do we laugh because we are happy? Or are we happy because we laugh? I wish I could give people a reason to laugh. I can’t. I can only remind myself, and others, why we should laugh during our journey through life.

We have the choice to take the lighter path and tap into the richness of laughter. To sum it up in Bill Cosby’s words — “If you can find humour in anything, you can survive it.”