Make space in your day for laughter, but is it really the best medicine?

They say “laughter is the best medicine”, but did you know the medical profession has been prescribing a dose of comedy to treat a range of ailments for hundreds of years?

The above saying is thought to be derived from the King James Bible, and in the 14th-century, French surgeon, Henri de Mondeville, documented his belief that patients should tell jokes after an operation. 700 years later and there are several instances of modern-day research concluding that laughing increases our pain thresholds and can reduce the need for painkilling drugs.

It’s not all about joking around either. At the turn of the 20th century, the pioneer of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, identified the power of “gallows humour” as a mechanism for dealing with stress.

Using humour to ease the pressures of daily life

Various studies have suggested that laughter releases mood-bosting endorphins in the brain, relieves tension, and reinforces social bonds when we share a funny moment.

We can hardly go about our daily lives cracking funnies or belly laughing all the time though. It can also be difficult to feel amused when we’re feeling low or anxious.

So, how can we inject a little humour into the day to boost our mental wellbeing? Try these quick tips:

  • Smile. Smiling is contagious. The simple act of smiling as you pass a neighbour in the street provides a little lift.
  • Add a touch of humour to conversations. Share something amusing that has happened to you or ask someone else to describe the funniest thing they have experienced this week.
  • Seek out lighthearted people. There are always folk in our lives who we naturally find funny and who share our sense of humour. Be sure to spend more time with them.
  • Laugh at yourself. You may consider yourself to be a serious person but sometimes seeing the funny side of something you have done can help put mistakes into perspective and help you move past misfortunes.
  • Create a comedy collection. Consuming a hefty dose of negative news and views via television and the internet has its own name these days – “doomscrolling”. Take the time to follow and like pages on social media and watch TV shows and YouTube videos that you find funny

While you’re putting your laughter plan together, be sure to check out ways for saving money with a discount code and coupons from the latest offers at NHS discounts.

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