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Laughter, the Best Medicine: Advice from a Kookaburra 🐾

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Advice from a Kookaburra from The Whine Bar by Ally Brown CPC

When my husband and I first got together, we shared many stories about our lives as we grew to learn about each other. Some were funny. Some not so much.

I remember one story in particular that he shared with me. Years before we met, he had some pretty serious abdominal surgery which required quite a bit of prep and even more recovery. It was emotionally and physically challenging for him. As with many abdominal surgeries, while he was at home recovering, so as not to strain that area, he was to hold a pillow against his abdomen whenever he needed to sneeze or cough. Given the person he is, sitting on a couch doing nothing was not in his wheelhouse and only served to add to his pain and depression. Once he was alone in the house, his boredom got the best of him and he landed smack dab in the middle of a Monty Python marathon. Without a care for the required sneezing and coughing pillow-holding, he embarked on a full-on 6 hours of laughing uncontrollably while trying to keep a pillow pressed against him so as not to rip him apart. For six hours he forgot about the emotional and physical pain. After his laughfest, he felt amazing, healed quickly, and was left with a positive experience that he will remember for all of his days.

Thinking about his experience made me wonder . . .

Can laughter truly be the best medicine?

It seems like no one has yet to figure out precisely why we laugh, though it seems likely that it may have started way back when the early humans walked this planet.

According to aboriginal legend, the kookaburra bursts into its "laughter" at dawn and dusk as a signal to the sky people to start the daily fire that lights the Earth. Perhaps the call of this bird served to remind the Aboriginals to face the new day with a light heart and conclude the day with a good laugh, no matter the type of day. Given that the kookaburra's laugh sounds like that of a human, from our low chuckles to our deep belly roars, early humans could have very well copied this beautiful reminder into their own bonding and socializing routines.

Fast forward many years, a lot of laughs and a great deal of research later, and it has been found that the Aborigines may have been on the right track. You see, laughter has tremendous physiological and psychological benefits.

A good, hearty laugh can cause a relaxed state as it releases our body's natural "happy chemicals". These happy chemicals help to relieve physical tension and stress, promote an overall sense of well-being, and relieve pain temporarily. Even more beneficial is that the benefits of this relaxed state can last for up to almost an hour after the period of laughter has ended.

Laughter helps us fight off illness as it boosts our body's natural disease-fighting capabilities while decreasing the hormones that cause stress to run rampant.

Laughter has been shown to improve the function of blood vessels and increase overall blood flow, which can help protect the heart from blockages and other cardiac-related issues.

As early man may have thought, laughter between people is a way that reinforces our bonds and helps us to enjoy life even when things get out of hand. Want to diffuse an argument or stressful situation quickly? If it's safe to do so, share a laugh. Looking at the comical side of something can help to put problems into perspective.

Positive people tend to be more light-hearted, have a stronger sense of humor, and tend to laugh more often in turn outliving those who don't laugh as much. Having worked in the medical field for over 25 years, I can now understand why many doctors and healthcare providers believe in the power of positivity.

Barring physical disability, we all can laugh as it is a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within just a few months of being born. Even for someone who did not grow up in an environment where laughter was commonly heard, laughter can be learned at any stage of life.

Here are three ways to start to laugh more:

  • Smile. The act of smiling starts to improve your mood right away and is contagious. Like laughter, once one person smiles, others can't help but do so.

  • Be grateful. When you are grateful for what you have it becomes easier to smile, to notice even more good in things, and to laugh.

  • Seek out laughter and fun. Watch funny movies, go to comedy shows, join in on a funny conversation, or even better, surround yourself with upbeat fun-loving people.

The more opportunities you have to laugh and smile the more likely you are to laugh and smile. Laughter can be a positive force for the body, even if we force it (ie: a fake smile) or we don't notice what is happening to us at the time.

So, the next time you are feeling not at the top of your game, why not give laughter a try?

It works for the kookaburra.

The kookaburra encourages us to start the day on a positive note and with a laugh. It also encourages us to end the day with a laugh, healing us from whatever transpired during the day. He has a very powerful healing energy and reminds us that no matter if that day was filled with hurt, frustration, sadness, or pain we can heal, learn, and move on, stronger than we were before, and create a more healthful ripple effect of positive change.

Afterall. . .

It’s free.

It has no known side effects.

Experts say that at the very least it lifts our spirits, lowers our stress levels, and makes us feel connected.

Even, if it's not the best medicine, it's at least worth a shot. You just may be amazed at the positive change you can create. And if not, at least you will get a good laugh out of it.

Cheers! 🥂

Need help? Looking for someone to talk to? Please feel free to reach out to me here.


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