Laughter Therapy

An eating disorder is not very funny. I kind of lost my sense of humour for a while; I sort of forgot how to laugh.

It’s not surprising really – it likes to assume control and dominate the head space – but now that I’ve reclaimed the territory a little, laughter therapy’s just what I need.

I started small and simple. Things that brought a smile to my face, or provoked a slight titter. It felt a little alien, I was a tad self conscious – but then anything that you haven’t done for years feels slightly strange.

At first, I treated it like the next phase in my self help campaign: I searched the internet and explored the TV for the allusive laughter switch – and, when I found the cure, I built laughing into my daily routine.

Forget therapy (by this point) – an episode a day of Family Guy will keep you sane; a start screen Bush-ism will set you on the right track for the moment you turn your computer on.

If you’re feeling a bit down, Ricky Gervais or Michael Mcintyre can help; when you’re feeling a touch cynical or a little cruel, Mock the Week or Sarah Silverman will do the trick. Chris Moyles on the way to work; Private Eye when you get home: whatever gets that upper lip curling upwards.

First, there’s the physical laughter; then the pleasure at being in on the joke; and, finally, the sense that nothing’s really that bad, that life doesn’t need to be taken quite so seriously.

Humour’s an undervalued commodity – it’s not just for the jokers out there.

When I’d got comfortable with sofa comedy, the leap into laughing took no effort at all. It helped, of course, that my head wasn’t permanently in a dark space anymore; but, once you’ve started walking on the funny side of life, it’s a lot easier to spot the laughs and catch the giggles.

Suddenly, I’m finding that I’m sharing the jokes – rather than standing awkwardly on the edge. When you relax with yourself, laughter comes a lot easier.

I’m noticing that I laugh from my belly now, and not from my face. Once you’ve got used to the feeling, it quickly becomes second nature.

Plus, I’m taking things a little less seriously. Laughing at yourself is far healthier than beating yourself up; and taking it on the chin with a smile is far more rewarding than fighting with life.

My slightly anal behaviours no longer drive me to distraction, they’re just a comical quirk; my aerobic inabilities are now a source of humour – and not despair; I can smile, rather than frown, at my absolutely pathetic attempts at parallel parking –

You get the idea; and, yes, you have to be a little discerning; and, true, it’s not right for every occasion – but life with laughter is far more enjoyable than life without –

And once you’ve caught on, it really is contagious –

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