I was brought up with BBC Radio 4 (the equivalent of ABC in Australia) playing in the background and I realise now that it’s probably my preferred way of receiving information and being entertained which may explain why I struggle to read books unless they quickly pique my interest or keep me intrigued.
We don’t often listen to the radio at home these days but I do regularly drive for about an hour or so (sometimes longer) so tend to listen to the radio (rather than music) in the car until the signal or my interest is lost when I listen to a book or podcast. For that reason, I recently decided to subscribe to Audible.
It offers a great variety of books and podcasts and at the moment I’m listening to Transforming Trauma by Dr James Gordon. Much of what he presents is relevant to the work we do and I’ve found it really valuable as it offers some great insights into what can help. There is one part in particular that I feel is worth sharing and that was about the power of laughing in releasing trauma.
We have probably heard various expressions about laughter, a common one being that laughter is the best medicine however you may wonder, as I did, if people who have experienced significant trauma would be able to laugh. Well according to Dr Gordon, who has a wealth of experience working internationally with people who have, they can and they do, albeit with some preparation and encouragement, and it brings powerful results.
While I am grateful that I have not experienced deep trauma and am therefore listening to learn, I have realised that laughter is often missing from my day; in fact I seem to have become more and more serious with each passing year. I don’t think there is any one reason for that, maybe some a combination of experiences over the last 10 to 15 years, but I was definitely full of joy when younger. Is that true for everyone? Maybe. But listening to the book and reading about the benefits of laughter in general has encouraged me to bring back the joy and laughter in my life.
What could laughter do for you? Reduce blood pressure, diminish stress symptoms, anxiety and emotional load, boost your immune system, act as a natural anti-depressant, improve your breathing, support your cardiovascular system, relieve pain and burn calories, create a general sense of wellbeing and endear and connect you more easily to others. Lots to love and laugh about there.
So although I haven’t decided exactly how I’ll go about laughing every day, I feel the following quote by Victor Hugo (French author) could be a good daily centring thought; ‘Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face’.