October 19, 2017

Laughter is the best medicine, but where can I buy it?

An article by Vinita Kinra (@VinitaKinra)

We have all been raised with golden advice like laughter is the best medicine and that we use more muscles to frown than to smile, but as we grow older and start getting bullied—almost incapacitated—by the ever-growing pressures of modern age, these shiny words of wisdom seem lackluster and clichéd. So, I guess, the question is where can you buy this miraculous medicine of laughter to cure your ills of stress, boredom, or even depression? Surely the funny pills are not an over-the-counter purchase, nor can we enter a science laboratory at random and inhale some laughing gas.

The answers to curing mood swings or temper fluctuations even on a rainy Monday morning when the boss is being overly bossy, lie in pampering— better still diverting—yourself towards physical activity that releases endorphins in your body and improves mood, without mentioning the boost your confidence gets as a bonus.

 

Closely linked to this magical formula to feel upbeat is eating right. A diet loaded with excess salt, sugar or high in carbohydrates will leave your body feeling sluggish, culpable and lethargic. Swap the guilty pleasure of cheesecake with a fresh fruit of your choice and see the difference! Wash it down with a glass of cool water and you can almost hear your stomach thanking you for your choices.

A common culprit causing irritability is inadequate sleep. Are you working odd rotating shifts? It’s never too late to upgrade your skills to try to get work that offers day shifts. If you’re partying hard and losing sleep, don’t complain; you asked for it!

Have you been avoiding company? Studies have  proved that social people are far less depressed than loners. Don’t we all know that an empty mind is a devil’s workshop? If you are an introvert and love to be alone, make sure you are doing something to keep the devils of boredom and apathy out of your mental workshop. Play music you like to lift your spirits while you cook or clean. In good weather, tend to your garden or joke about your grouchiness. After all, Rudyard Kipling wrote a whole poem on how to get the best of a bad mood. In verses from How the Camel got his Hump, he says,

“The cure for this ill is not to sit still,

Or frowst with a book by the fire;

But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,

And dig till you gently perspire.”

If you are religiously inclined, go to your place of worship to pray communally, but if you prefer the privacy of your home to connect with the almighty, meditate or try to void your mind of toxic thoughts and experiences.

Yoga is another panacea that comes to your rescue quicker than you can holler SOS! One specific pose gets you down on all fours like a canine and roar like a tiger, facing all directions one by one. Each time you roar, you conjure the image of a person who caused you pain or anguish of some kind. After finishing this posture, you feel liberated and avenged. The best form of yoga, however, is “Laughter Yoga,” in which you throw up your hands in the air and laugh at nothing specific. This is easier done in a group when looking at people doubling up insanely cracks you up effortlessly.

Since I’m no magician to deal with all the infinite scenarios that cause you to feel sad and hopeless, I’d like to end with the advantage of being sad and doing everything to show it! Crying is the best remedy if you are aching from a broken heart due to an abruptly ended relationship or the heartache suffered from a loved one. God made tears for a reason—they take the load off your chest and melt the build-up of negativity so you can view life with fresh eyes and move on! Oh, and by the way, there’s a song that goes, “Don’t worry, be happy…” Nah, I’m only being cheesy here!

 

Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. 

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