Laughing is good
My journey with laughter
Laughter evidence 1. I visited a McMillan desk to seek advice, this was just after being told the stage for my cancer. The lady was nice, we simply chatted. During our chat, i asked "in your opinion, what helps people stave off cancer?". "People that smile and laugh seem to do better than the rest" was her answer.
Laughter evidence 2. A community nurse visited me just after i returned home from surgery. She told she visited many patients, some who had cancer. I asked her what the secret to fighting cancer was. Simple she said, "being happy and laughing lots".
Laughter evidence 3. One week later a lady helped me with some welfare documents, as she left i asked if any of her clients had cancer. "Of course" she replied. She mentioned one chap that was doing well, so i asked about him. She told me how after he was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to enjoy life more, and he spent much of his time watching comedies, old films, and socialising with close friends. "He never seems to stop laughing, he's always happy" she said.
Me and laughter
I'd like to think that i smile and laugh as much as the next person. Truth is, i suspect that events of those first few months following diagnosis made me pretty straight faced. To be expected i guess.
When i read in a cancer fighting book, that laughing more is one of the 10 most important actions to take to fight cancer, then i realised i needed to shrug off what was happening to me, and start enjoying the moment.
So, i'm recovering at home, can hardly walk properly, but can walk enough to get up into my loft and dig out anything 'that made me laugh'.
So heres what i found
At least a dozen of my Viz annuals....brilliant. I was bought one every christmas so have amassed a fair collection over the years. Sid the sexist, Roger Mellie (man on the telly), Fat S***s, Mr. Logic, Mrs Brady Old Lady, Baxter Basics, Student Grant, and of course my favourite character Eight Ace.
Over christmas 2012 and throughout January i chuckled my way through them. A permanent smile on my face.
I also dug out some Private Eye annuals...even more laughs. I accept that both of these titles can be sarcastic and 'incorrect', but they certainly had me laughing. Great!
Next, i vetted my pathetic DVD collection, and looked for 'funnies'.
I found several Al Murray discs, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Lee Evans live, Fawlty Towers episodes, Rhod Gilbert, and even Bridget Jones Diary.
I'd forgotten i had most of these. Endless hours of laughter followed.
Throughout my 'repair and recovery' period at home i was determined to find humour whenever i could. I bought a book about a guy who cycled the full Tour de France course on a second hand bike, and shoestring budget. The guy appeared to be out of condition, he had no real idea of the challenge ahead, and clearly wasn't adequately prepared. All reminders of myself. So i read it, giggling and grimacing all the way through it.
The book was: French Revolutions by Tim Moore. It cost me less than £2 from Amazon, but was worth ten times that.
Lets laugh more
I guess what i'm saying here is, lets laugh more. It seems to be much more than i nice thing to do. It helps us in the fight. I'm sure theres loads of scientific and medical information out there that explains it further, but i'm not going to complicate this blog with that, as i'm here to share what i did and what i'm doing.
Apart from the above examples, i seem to be laughing, giggling (inside and out) and chuckling much more. Often at the simplest and daftest things. I seem to now be able to notice those funny little moments that normally go unnoticed. I people watch more. observe pets doing silly stuff, and enjoy dry wit exchanges with anyone willing to humour me. It feels good.
I'll flick through telly channels looking for Marx Brothers, Carry on, and Pink Panther films. I love watching re-runs of Blackadder, Young Ones, Ever decreasing circles, etc. There much better than boring soaps and instant fame programmes.
Ok, so i said i won't go 'scientific' about laughter, so instead here's a Wikipedia (thanks guys) page extract:
Children are said to laugh a great deal more than adults: an average baby laughing 300-400 times a day compared to an average adult laughing only 15-20 times a day; however the cited article, written by one of the two top humor researches in the world, establishes that there is no real basis for this claim. Laughter might be thought of as an audible expression or appearance of excitement, an inward feeling of joy and happiness. It may ensue from jokes, tickling, and other stimuli completely unrelated to psychological state, such as nitrous oxide. One group of researchers speculated that noises from infants as early as 17 days old may be vocal laughing sounds or laughter, however the weight of the evidence supports its appearance at 15 weeks to four months of age.
Laughter researcher Robert Provine said: "Laughter is a mechanism everyone has; laughter is part of universal human vocabulary. There are thousands of languages, hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way." Babies have the ability to laugh before they ever speak. Children who are born blind and deaf still retain the ability to laugh.
Provine argues that "Laughter is primitive, an unconscious vocalization." Provine argues that it probably is genetic. In a study of the "Giggle Twins", two happy twins who were separated at birth and only reunited 43 years later, Provine reports that "until they met each other, neither of these exceptionally happy ladies had known anyone who laughed as much as they did." They reported this even though they both had been brought together by their adoptive parents, who they indicated were "undemonstrative and dour." He indicates that the twins "inherited some aspects of their laugh sound and pattern, readiness to laugh, and maybe even taste in humor."
Norman Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. "I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep," he reported. "When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval."
Enjoy laughing, and remember its doing us all good!