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SMILE UP: 6 WAYS TO LAUGH AT LIFE'S DIFFICULTIES


If Science gives full marks to laughter, it means that it is really serious. If you manage to bring a smile to the faces of those around you, you are not only giving yourself a gift, but also the whole world. So let's learn to laugh out loud, starting now.



The philosopher Immanuel Kant defined laughter as follows:

"Laughter produces a feeling of well-being through the stimulation of vital organic processes; an emotion that moves the intestines and the diaphragm; in a word, a feeling of health that can be well perceived by everyone: in this way, we can reach the body through the soul and use the latter as a doctor of the former."
- Kant -

I think there is no better explanation to represent the meaning of this word, which translates as a concrete natural cure for the ills of the modern human being.


Kant, in fact, had already perceived the importance of laughter, especially in response to the problems that reality confronts us with on a daily basis. In this turmoil, then, between epidemics and continuous global economic crises, laughing becomes a primary need that goes against the ordinary system of "being serious at all costs", incongruously and without warning, as for example, laughing during a funeral.

Laughing is therefore the ideal medicine of these times, which we might suggest "to be used with caution", but rather by following the indication that Nietzsche himself recalled, namely to "laugh 10 times a day while remaining cheerful, so that the stomach, the father of sadness, does not come and disturb us at night".


Staying at home for the forced lockdown has exponentially increased some 'dangerous' symptoms, mainly related to obsessive psychosis disorders and the sense of fear of contagion and the precariousness and uncertainty of the future. Not to mention apathy, depression and the terror of being out with people. It is important then to try to use the cure of laughter right away, for everyone and for those people who do not always see the glass as half full, trying to train the spirit to react to this particular adversity in order to face new ones during the course of life.



How does laughter work on the brain?

"Laughing 10 times a day while remaining cheerful, so that the stomach, the father of sadness, does not come to disturb us at night."
- Nietsche -

It is therefore right to emphasize that laughter is good for our health and also relieves stress, and the many studies carried out over the last 50 years can confirm this. Just think of the 'laughter therapy', known for its creator, Dr. Patch Adams, who introduced clown therapy (see professional course to become a Laughter Expertise) in the American pediatric hospital environment in the 1980s, to demonstrate that a serene and amusing environment is more functional in order to obtain greater positive effects on the health of the patient under treatment.




Basically, when you laugh, you release substances called Beta-endorphins or 'happiness hormones', along with Serotonin (known as the 'feel-good hormone'), which are both neurotransmitters that have the ability to cause a feeling of well-being in the brain, strengthening it to cope better with situations. But the release of these substances not only helps the brain, it also improves:

  • memory: there is a decrease in the secretion of cortisol, (also known as the 'stress hormone') and adrenaline, with an increase in the immune system;

  • heart: loosens the muscles around the heart organ by promoting blood oxygenation and regulating breathing;

  • mood: frees the fixed nails and rational reasoning, with the use of creative solutions;

  • pain tolerance: there is a loss of neurons relating to stress, revealing a beneficial function as an analgesic and preventing disorders such as anxiety and cardiovascular disease.

We could also add that laughing is undoubtedly a quality that changes the perspective of things and transforms a rigid and serious individual into a being more flexible and open to change.



Laughter as a recipe for solving all problems

"If you don't laugh, you are not a serious person."
- Fryderyk Chopin -

What if they told you that laughter will save you? Would you believe them? Obviously, the only suggestion is to try it out for yourself, because if it doesn't work out, it will be a success because you will have enjoyed doing something without any great expectations, but just for fun.



In today's context, laughter can be the perfect recipe for solving all problems, and as the beautiful Audrey Hepburn was often fond of pointing out when referring to the implicit power of laughter, she said:


"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think that laughing is the thing I like most. It's the cure for so many ills".
- Audrey Hepburn -

This is in fact the general idea of 'Laughter Yoga' (or 'Laughter Club'), created by Dr Madan Kataria of Mumbai, who established a technique to help people overcome their first moments of embarrassment, consisting of an initial breathing phase similar to Pranayama in Yoga, followed by group vocalisation exercises (e.g. Ho-Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha). Success came quickly and today thousands of people worldwide practice YDR.



The winning charm of a smile helps social relations


"You can tell a person by his/her laugh."
- Fëdor Dostoevskij -

If laughter is good for you (and we know that it really is), a smile is the winning premise of a business card that we carry with us if we want to succeed in life. A person who presents a sincere smile opens up for better social interactions, both at work and in family life. This does not mean putting on a fixed mask with a printed smile that automatically responds to all kinds of situations, but using a natural habit of levity when we intend to:

  • play down a particular circumstance, to restore or make better the relationship in the balance;

  • lower the sense of competition with the other who does not yet know us, and to put him or her at ease;

  • to show that positivity through the non-verbal language of the smile, but also of the eyes, is an indication of a complicity that is sometimes greater than words and that translates into growing trust in others and in oneself in the contextualized moment.


Be sure to smile

"Remember: sacrifices will be the cause of the most beautiful smiles. And nothing can stop a heart from smiling again."
- Daniele Di Benedetti -

The motivational text "Ricordati di sorridere" (Remember to smile) by Daniele Di Benedetti, an international coach with a social community of 1 million followers who likes to define himself as a "Happiness reawakener", is the perfect example of a stimulus for those who want to embark on a path of change towards a vision of the so-called "glass half full".

The various examples of real-life experiences recounted in the book by the author demonstrate his simple and direct character in being able to get straight to the heart of his readers, as well as being an interesting cue that offers, in its entirety, a light-hearted yet attentive picture of the importance of knowing how to smile in the face of the adversities of everyday life.



Remembering to smile, in fact, is completely dispassionate advice, but it is not easy to do or to follow whenever you want to. And this is the central node of the text, which well argues the issue of listening, acceptance, appreciation and self-love, to reach the final result of the 'constant smile of the heart', first of all, which translates into therapy and then into healing from emotional blocks.

A light-hearted book but at the same time able to skilfully motivate the reader, who is supported between the more than 200 pages, as a life coach himself.


Smiling makes you better and happier


Here are 6 tips for laughing heartily in the face of daily adversity: to get through these long, boring days with no expectations for the future, with a note of real positivity and lightness that will certainly help our health too.


  1. 10 minutes of free laughter a day. Dedicate just 10 minutes a day to laughing for no reason in a room and think of some stupid and surprising fact that has left you stunned and laughing. Don't feel ashamed and if you really can't, follow the Laughter Club vowel technique.

  2. Watch your favourite comedy film. You'll find that there are more films you've loved than you thought. You can never go wrong with the great classics. For example, if you don't already know them, I recommend the following three films: Frankenstein Junior, Amici Miei, Bugiardo Bugiardo and then Totò, Alberto Sordi....(e.g. create a list of films to watch at least once a week)

  3. Follow satire to find your ability to "ironize on life". There are countless programmes offering political satire, but perhaps not all of them are for you. Watch them to see what kind of humour is right for you.

  4. Laughing as a family, remembering funny personal episodes. Together with the people we love and who love us, telling funny stories about ourselves is the best way to consolidate relationships, or to listen to someone else's version of the same anecdote; or to spend an evening with friends telling jokes without planning anything.

  5. Choose a book to laugh at. If you don't have such a book at home, you can buy it as an ebook or, better still, as an audio book. A classic is the Disney series "The most beautiful stories to laugh at (Comic Stories Vol. 44), for all ages.

  6. Play as you did when you were a child. If you have children, it will be easier. Or with your loved one or friend recreate an afternoon where you play games you used to play when you were a child. (e.g. hide-and-seek, blind man's buff, one, two, three, star, etc.). Time will fly by and fun will be guaranteed, as well as another beautiful new memory to carry in your heart.




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