By Arun Krishnadas
Edited by Nidhi Singh, Junior Editor, The Indian Economist
William Shakespeare in his famous poem “Seven ages”, brilliantly depicts the journey we call “life”. Put simply, from infancy to youth to adulthood to old age, man grows wiser, but weaker. No one escapes the chaos of monotony, that gulps down one and all, leading ultimately to that final truth we call death! We can’t but help ask ourselves if there is a medicine worth carrying in our kit, to cure ourselves from this ruggedness of life. And amazingly there is one, a gift we are endowed with at birth, and slowly we give up in the course of life. A gift, we call “laughter”….
To get a feel of laughter, or rather the extent of its impact on life, we need to look no further than this quote, “Any tale will taste a lot different, if it is mixed with a pinch of laughter, no matter its theme.” This remains true for all ages, as laughter is a feeling that springs from the heart. Let’s have a look at the physical and emotional benefits of laughter.
Laughter as a medicine can be prescribed for almost any disease! If you believe in the words of our sages, then it is something like, “Hasya is an exercise for the mind that relaxes as much as it pleases. You feel like flying over the worries of your life, drifting away into the clouds of joy, moving closer to the “Paramatma”. An illusion worth reliving every moment of…” And believe it or not, science confirms the truth in these words, well almost. We have strong facts to believe that laughter is a perfect work out for the body, helping to reduce blood pressure and strengthening the immune system. Where is the wonder in the fact that happy people tend to live longer.
Now, no one needs a lesson on the emotional aspects of laughter. It relaxes all organs of our body, relieving us from tensions and the stresses of daily life. It is believed that humour helps us connect with the people around us, thereby helping us to develop a positive outlook on life. It has also been confirmed beyond doubt that ailments like depression and anxiety have no better antidote than laughter, well summed up by William Fry, a well-known researcher in laughter who claims that he took 10 minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach that level he attains with just 1 minute of laughter. Ah.. The picture is getting clearer. Our protagonist has abilities we never even thought of in the first place, and the list continues.
It’s just amazing to know that we laugh less than 10% a day, of what we used to as a baby. After all, where is the time to laugh or have fun when you have a 100 files to look into in the course of a day? But the next time you have all those stresses, believe in this quote, “When faced with a problem, choose to laugh at it, and amazingly, you will discover the solution laughing back at you…”
The world around you is slowly but surely recognizing the importance of laughter. Laughter therapy is often employed as a cure, particularly in the West. Hasya Yoga is creeping up the ladder of important yogasanas for a healthier life. April 14th has been declared International Moment of Laughter Day. But always remember that like all other medicines, the effectiveness of this medicine too depends on the way we employ it. Natural laughter is but a matter of choice. There is a brighter side to each and every aspect of life. It is but our decision to choose what we wish to see. Remember that famous Dumbledore quote about life? “It is not our skills that make us who we are, it is our choices”. I urge you all to board the train of laughter today, and witness the world around you transforming in front of your eyes.
Arun is a reserved individual, who places his interests at par with those of others around him. He is determined when he sets onto something, but still spends long amounts of time introspecting on his decisions, whatever be the results. He likes to spend time with friends, reading books, watching sports and films, writing his heart out and setting time tables for a better tomorrow. He believes that for some things, there’s today, and for others there’s tomorrow, be it the one that comes or the one that doesn’t.