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Laughter is the best medicine for wellness

There are a range of physical, emotional, psychological and professional benefits to laughing more regularly – even if it is forced – which positively impact our health and wellbeing, according to one lawyer and consultant.

Laughter Lawyers director and wellness consultant Jackie Curran, who also goes by her spiritual name, Chamundai, said that for working professionals, the flow-on benefits to regular laughter are bountiful in better managing our health and wellbeing, and therefore our professional development and success.

"One of the best things about laughing is that it produces a lot of chemicals that are really good for the body and mind: it brings forth dopamine, serotonin and neurotransmitters that act as a strong anti-depressant," she explained.

"It also acts as a balancing of the emotional state by reducing cortisol, which is a hormone released by stress and has a lot of negative effects, especially for our physical health."

"Laughing also increases our oxygen flow, which is an energiser and thus helps optimal function," she said.

There's extensive research, she said, showing that when we are in better, happier and more optimistic moods, and we feel good about ourselves, we can then approach our work in a different and more productive way.

"On the other hand, when we're under stress, our capacity to handle information is challenged. As soon as you bring laughter into the equation, your heart and mind can be opened up, and you can actually function better in a number of ways and thus receive and retain new information more easily."

It also has the ability to assist with workplace interactions, she added.

"If we're in a stressed, tense mood, we're likely to relate to people in a way that produces conflict, or doesn't help conflict disappear," she warned.

"Once you've used laughter, you're more open to listening to people, communications skills improve and you can bond a lot more easily."

This then has benefits in the personal realm, as Ms Curran has discovered.

"The first thing I noticed [when I started laughing more] is that I was much more relaxed, available to people to listen, and bring not only a sense of humour but also warmth," she noted.

"My children said to me that I was much more fun, whereas I used to be more serious, and they said it made me a much nicer person."

Moreover, laughter has brought Ms Curran an avenue through which she can feel more in touch with her soul.

"I've had some tragedies in my life, and being able to laugh helped me become more balanced, both personally and professionally," she concluded.  

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain