Laugh Your Way To Better Health

This post was inspired by the Donut Apocalypse as suffered by my dear friend, Penny Berry.

Photo by Toa Heftiba u015einca on

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.

Danish proverb

Growing up, the wording of this sage advice was changed somewhat, but the meaning and intent was still the same. My father, the smart old man that he was, would always change “weep” to “cry”, but the meaning was exactly the same. If you want people to stick around, learn to laugh.

The Many Benefits Of Laughter

Laughter doesn’t only benefit us socially, but mentally and physically as well. In fact, laughter has been proven to:

  • Reduce stress, tension and anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce pain
  • Improve depression
  • Increase attractiveness
  • Lessen aging
  • Boost self-esteem

And much more

It’s no wonder then that so many people who laugh have a better quality of life!

Using Laughter To Cope With Chronic Pain

One of the things that astounds so many people about me is that I live with chronic pain. My family have nicknamed me “Chameleon” (or “Cammy”, for short) and take particularly to dancing around the lounge and singing The Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon when my wrist changes colour. If I develop spasms in my wrist or knee, I joke that my limb is having a party and none of us are invited. For us, laughter is a coping mechanism for living with my condition, and it astounds so many people that I suffer like I do, simply because I’m able to laugh at myself.

When I applied for Personal Independence Payment, many people couldn’t take my condition seriously. I seemed so jovial and so upbeat, there was no way I could be in so much pain! The simple truth is in the advice my father gave me – nobody wants to be around somebody who mopes, whines and moans, and what’s worse, chronic pain or chronic loneliness?

A little laughing at one can go a long way towards preventing the other.

Tips for Using Laughter

Love Thyself, Laugh At Thyself

One of the first and biggest parts of using laughter is being able to laugh at yourself. It’s so fundamentally important to understand that none of us are perfect and we all, as humans, we all make mistakes. If you can laugh at yourself instead of wondering why you aren’t perfect, it will go a long way to boosting your confidence. Remember, nobody is perfect (though I do try 😉 ).

Laugh At Adversary

So many people fall into a fit of rage when they experience a setback, and in some sense it’s perfectly understandable, but then you need to be able to laugh because quite often stressing out won’t fix the problem. Only a few days ago, I managed to get kitchen cleaner (with bleach) on a favourite navy top of mine. I didn’t realise until far too late, and when I did, I had brick red splatter marks on the waist of my beloved t-shirt.

“Oh well, it’s the new in thing for 2020, what do you think?” I joked.

Laugh With People, Not At Them (Unless They Invite You To)

Perhaps the biggest area that so many people still get wrong is that it is simply not okay to laugh at other people who aren’t laughing with you. Members of the public are not put there as free amusement for you, and it says a lot about you if you treat them that way. Never, ever laugh at someone, not unless they invite you to.

Humour’s Dark Side – Clowns & Sad Clown Syndrome

One of the saddest and most damning issues with humour is quite how often comedy can be used to mask severe depression. Many in the entertainment industry will understand the pressure to entertain and perform and many, many people will remember the late beloved entertainer Robin Williams, who went on to take his own life. Most interestingly, it is quite often those who try to appear aloof who are the most depressed of all. Even myself, I have acted exuberant at times as a mask for the pain I was feeling within. Sadly and all too often, some of the biggest entertainers are doing exactly the same.

Humour & Empathy – Why We Love Comedians

A few weeks ago, I watched this video clip of Lee Evans and in it, he made a very interesting point. For comedy to work, the audience needs to relate to the comedian. That is, the audience needs to be able to empathize.

1:20 – 1:46 for the relevant interview 🙂

For a lot of people, some comedians simply aren’t funny and this has a lot to do with laughing at other people, rather than with them. In the UK, one of the most controversial comedians is none other than Jimmy Carr. Although some of the witty retorts he comes out with can behilarious, he has also faced a lot of controversy for laughing at and disrespecting disabled people, and fans.

For humour to work successfully, the intended audience needs to be able to relate. If the audience can’t relate, then the joke falls flat and the humour doesn’t work. What is funny is not a matter of definition, so much as a matter of perspective. Lee is a typically British married man, and Shappi is a single mom. In both audiences, there will be hundreds who can relate (and therefore be able to laugh) because there will be hundreds of married men and moms. When it comes to jokes about disability or sexuality, fewer people laugh because fewer people find such comedy okay, have a disability or are gay themselves, or know or care for someone who is disabled or gay. Once again, the deciding factors for what does and does not qualify as ‘comedy’ has changed and it is important that when making a joke, we remember to read our audience. Nothing harms the ego more than being the joke that tells bad jokes, so make sure they land well the first time! 😉

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look at the positive impact of laughter and I hope that you will be back soon for another post.

Remember, keep smiling, and keep laughing!

Helen xx

Dear Husband, You Aren’t ‘Helping’ Me. It’s Your Responsibility, Too.

An open letter to my husband (who bizarrely already knows about this post!)

Dear husband,

This morning, you loaded some washing into the machine and said to me perhaps what seemed to be the most bizarre thing of all,

“I’m just helping you.”

You’re just helping me.

Helping me do… what exactly? You’re helping me run our home.

But don’t you live here, too?

Dear husband, running our home is not something that I have to do. It’s something that I do while you’re at work because I am at home. But when you’re home, it becomes our shared responsibility.

In the evening, do you not feed the dog? Do you not take him outside? Do you not cook some meals or empty the kitchen bin? Do you not load the dishwasher sometimes?

Then why is everything else my responsibility?

Dear husband, responsibilities are not something that are assigned to people based on their sex or gender. They are assigned to us based on our age, intelligence and level of maturity. If we are both old enough and intelligent enough to use a washing machine, then really, we are both old enough and intelligent enough to be using it.

It is not my responsibility because I am smarter (although, I dispute that), it is our shared responsibility because we both know how it works. If you can do it, do it. Why do you need to be doing it for me?

Do it for us.

Everything, in all that we do for our home and all that we achieve, is our shared responsibility. We chose to take this adventure together, we chose to share our lives with each other (and that means all of our lives, not just the happy and difficult bits). Unfortunately, we have to do the mundane bits (like putting our clothes away) before we can get to the really, really good bits. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this..

Dear husband, I know you want nothing more in life than to make me happy, and know that for the most part, you really do. I love sharing every moment with you, I love reflecting on the good times with you and all of the memories shared. I love spending every moment with you, no matter what it is we do nor no matter what we get up to.

Dear husband, know how much I love those days that we work together, we clean together. We share so much and we reflect back on the progress made. Those are some of the best days! There is a wonderful sense of accomplishment, a sense of accomplishment that I get to share with you. We’re essentially doing not much together, and yet, in the most bizarre way we are still creating so many wonderful memories. No matter what happens, I will always remember you not only as the man I wanted to share my life with, but also as the man that I could share my life with, as a team. Dear husband, you mean everything to me!

Dear husband, this year has been a tumultuous year and I can never thank you enough for being right there with me. Know that I love you, that I adore you and I hope to spend many, many more years sharing my life and my responsibilities with you. Know that I love waking up with you and living that which is our life together, our day. Know that I hope that there will be many, many more of those equally exciting and mundane days.

But, dear husband..

Please never, ever regard your part in completing those shared responsibilities as ‘helping’ me.

With oh so much love,

Helen xx

Christmas Antics (Some Festive Humour!)

Good evening lovelies,

Normally, I try not to blog on weekends. However, I’m finding quite quickly that blogging on weekends is just something that I seem to do! I knew that if I slept on these antics until tomorrow, I would have forgotten them completely. I hope that they make you smile and my silly nature helps to spread some Christmas cheer!

This evening, Matt told me about Iceland’s previously existing product,”Christmas tree flavour Crisps”. Immediately, that encouraged a slur of wintery puns from me.

Me: They WOODEN be something I’d try but I suppose if they’re nice then you’ll be PINE-ing for more!
Matt: Please stop..
Me: I suppose they might SPRUCE up your Christmas party but if you eat too many then you’ll be feeling EVERGREEN! 😂
Matt: Stop..
Me: Okay, okay.. I get it.. I’ll stop NEEDLE-ing you with my jokes..
Matt: For fuck’s sake..
Me: I suppose they have been pretty BAUBLE..

Happy Winter Solstice, Everyone!

Helen xx

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas..

Hello Lovelies,

Finally it’s time for my Fun On Friday post, and what a week it’s been! All those little starts and touches that make the festivities.. well., festive!

This week started off with a bit of a chuckle for me. First of all, space in our flat is limited, so we decided on a “Nordic” Christmas tree with a 3ft Christmas tree on the shelf unit. It seems simple enough, right? Well..

For one, the Nordic tree is really a wire sculpture with a tape wrap around and three foot tree was clearly made on a 2:! scale. One doesn’t accept returns and the other isn’t worth it, so we decided to push on,

The first course of action was to try and make the wire sculpture look a little bit more real. Not to be outdone, I spent some time dilligently hanging baubles on the ‘branches’ and securing them with a spot of PVA glue. I think it worked?

The min tree itself was wrapped in some battery-powered fairy lights and shoved, admittedly unceremoniously, in the bedroom window. The window faces the street, so I suppose it’ll add some festive cheer, even if not much.

I’ve decided not to be a complete Scrooge and realised that maybe my minimalist Christmas just wasn’t meant to happen. Admitting defeat, I ordered a 3ft tree from a reputable seller, whereby I know what I’ll be getting myself into.

Below is the festive memorial wreath that I made. I’m actually quite proud of it, I think it looks good. It was a bit fiddly to assemble, but I think it’s paid off. It still chokes me up to see ‘Dad’ on there though. I’m not ready, but then, I suppose you never are.

Tomorrow we’re off to the German Christmas market. I can’t say that I’m not a little bit excited, it’s something of a tradition. We starve ourselves beforehand, then eat so much considerably unhealthy food while we’re there. It’s a once a year treat and even if I do spend a few days feeling considerably bloated afterwards, I’ve still got all of next year to work it off 😉

Over and out until next time, folks.

Enjoy the weekend!

Helen xx