Laughter

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” The quote from Woody Allen describes the condition that triggers the release of endorphins, our natural feel-good chemicals that promote a sense of well-being and have also been shown to relieve pain. It also triggers the release of milk from one’s nostrils but never mind.

flickr.cc.2.0/photos/chrishuggins

The fact is a deep, belly laugh can cut the tension in a room or in your own muscles and leave you relaxed for up to 45 minutes. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter has characteristics similar to those that I wrote about on drumming. It can decrease stress hormones, give a boost to our immune system and therefore, make us less susceptible to disease. Laughter also improves the function of blood vessels which protects against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
There have been countless times during my life when I’ve dropped into uncontrollable laughter. Most recently, I snorted out loud at a spiritual ceremony in the rain at Machu Picchu but when I was younger, I got sent to the back of the room during Girl Scouts and swat on the rump by my dad during a family event. Though these may have been times when laughter was inappropriate, they make the best stories and hold some of my fondest memories of laughter that I won’t forget.

Laughter isn’t just something that I can call forth on demand. I have to be provoked. So what’s the best way to do that?

Methods to call forth laughter

  • Go to a comedy club
  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Share some ridiculous embarrassing stories from your youth.
  • Read a funny book. My husband cried through Bill Bryson’s hiking book.
  • Look at Gary Larsen cartoons.
  • Seek out funny people – someone who makes you laugh or even those who are good for a chuckle.
  • Goof around with your kids.
  • Do something outside your comfort zone like hot yoga or karaoke with a friend.
  • Host a costume party.
  • Do something really silly.
Having a sense of humor, the ability to convey and enjoy what is comical or bizarre is not only a good attribute, it’s a gift. When facing sadness, pain or sickness, there is no simpler or cheaper way to cope. Laughter is both magnetic and contagious. It can can truly lessen our grief and help retain our good health and yes, sometimes it causes milk to squirt from your nose.
What makes you laugh?
And now for the real funny stuff, DH and I have decided to become raw vegans for the month of August. Those of you who may know him are already in an uncontrollable fit. This recipe comes to us via Hannah at wayfaringchocolate.com.

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Serves 4
Adapted from Girl On Raw

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped red capsicum
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley (or basil, if you have it on hand)
  • Slightly under 1 cup semi-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 pitted Medjool dates
  • 4 tb thyme-infused extra virgin olive oil which was a much-appreciated thank you gift from your grandparents for having watered their garden and not killed their plants. Or, you know, whatever olive oil you have in your pantry.
  • chopped bird’s eye chilli, to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • dash apple cider vinegar (which I completely forgot, but I’m putting it in the ingredients list because I think it’d be great)
  • 1 large zucchini, spiralised

1. Place all ingredients (bar the zucchini) in a food processor and pulse until everything is mixed but not pureed, as you want the sauce to retain some texture. Or, if you’re me, use an immersion blender on the ingredients as they sit together in a large bowl. This will cause red and green flecks of tastiness to leap out of the bowl and come to rest in your ringlets, but it’ll all work out eventually.

2. Top the spiralized zucchini with the marinara sauce.

Leave a comment

70 Comments

  1. You should have been a writer!! enjoyed your blog very much cheers MLB

    Reply
  2. Loved this post, Tammy. That top photo made me SMILE!

    Laughter is so important to our health and well-being. I often laugh until tears roll down my cheeks. I laugh at rude behavior, bad drivers, snooty waiters, men in speedos, off key singing, inane commercial, ridonculous ads, etc.

    When others don’t see anything to laugh about, they look at me askance, frowns firmly in place: “What’s so funny?”

    “Nothing. Everything. Life.”
    Life is better with laughter.

    Good luck with your raw vegan diet.

    Reply
  3. That statue is one of my favorite statues of ALL times! Plus any time I drive/walk by it never fails to make me smile. And getting visiting friends and family to pose with the statues always makes me laugh. :-)

    Reply
  4. I had no work yesterday, for the first time in ages and was anxious about it. A totally unexpected round of folly happened with my friends on my Facebook page, I laughed until I had a bellyache. My anxiety went away, I slept well and we shall just have to be patient and wait for the work to roll in. Thanks for this post Tammy :)

    Reply
  5. Laugh (read love) this post Tammy! Okay, my laughing gases would be Calvin n Hobbes, Mr. Bean and I’m genetically humorous by nature. I laugh at my own follies most of the time and keep laughing!!! Lol.

    Reply
    • That’s right. I forgot you were the Calvin and Hobbes person. Genetically humorous is awesome.

      Reply
  6. Sally Mom

     /  August 5, 2011

    Amazing medicine, laughter. I spent the evening into night in the emergency room with my true friends, the patient, a feisty 90 year old and friend Judy, partner in caring for our “other Mother”. We youngins at 66 loving the antics and stories of our formidable elder. We laughed so hard and still learning so much.
    Such a great way to start your blog and ending with the raw food diet. You and DH are always making me smile and I so support this endeavor. “This month”.
    Exciting.

    Reply
    • So glad you got to spend time with that other mother. She is such a dear. We’ll be blogging about the outcome of the vegan raw food!

      Reply
  7. Humor is a good balance in life… it keeps you calm and peaceful inside…
    Nice post :-)

    Reply
  8. Thanks for the LOL, Tammy :-D Love that Woody Allen quote, and must say I’m quite in awe of you tackling a whole month as raw vegans…please do it for the team!

    Reply
    • As a juicer, I guess raw veganism would be right up your alley. Hope your day is full of chuckles.

      Reply
  9. I regularly do 6 of those things you recommend to elicit laughter!

    Reply
  10. Laughter is mighty fine. I came across a blog last night which still has me giggling now: a tiny bit of anarchical pleasure. Wonderful post.

    Reply
  11. This reminds me of the great “laughter clubs” in India that made the news a couple of years ago. By raising people’s endorphins, positivity, and senses of community, friendship, and support many laughter club members found improvements in their medical conditions and lives in general. Laughter really is one of the best medicines!

    I find funny authors like Tom Robbins, Douglas Adams, and an occasional David Sedaris. I don’t watch much television, but shows like “Arrested Development” and the original animated “The Tick” were very cleverly written. An older one, “Monty Python,” is dated now but the writing is still amazing. Some classic funny films stand out, such as “Airplane,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “Blazing Saddles,” and the more recent “Jump Tomorrow” and “Galaxy Quest.” All good stuff in their own ways.

    Raw vegan! Excellent! My wife and I have been vegan since the 90s and never felt better. Our diet is about 75% raw and organic. Get a VitaMix if you don’t already have one; you’ll love all the things it makes possible.

    Reply
    • Rob,
      Thanks for helping me remember Tom Robbins (who I used to read avidly) and Doug Adams. I have a David Sedaris book next to my bed but haven’t dug in yet. And I was a huge Monty Python fan. We do have a VitaMix and fire it up every day!

      Reply
  12. I love this, Tammy, and love to laugh. This is so timely as I realize more and more that I stress way too much, then eat badly while I’m stressed and laughter sounds like the best thing ever to cure me. :) and inexpensive too!
    Thank you and thank you for another amazing recipe! Best wishes throughout this month!

    Reply
    • The recipe really is good and I’ll post some pictures later in the month when I talk about our month. It’s a very cleansing process which is described by some as spiritual also.

      Reply
  13. Raw food for one month! Yeay! You’ll be full of energy, Tammy. A couple of raw food blogs I follow cause me to drool. Thank goodness one is local and has a weekly Cafe offering so we can load up – Rawsome Cafe. The “chef”, Jim, finds flavours that I didn’t know existed. His desserts taste better than those made with all that sugar and flour.

    Reply
  14. Joan Z

     /  August 5, 2011

    Have you tried Laughter Yoga? A friend here in Minneapolis teaches classes. John Cleese explains http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEfjVnYkqM
    David Sedaris has made me laugh out loud (and wake my husband), try him. And the Vancouver laughing statues are my favorites. Thanks. :)

    Reply
    • I have David Sedaris on the bedside table but haven’t opened it yet. I’ve heard great things. As for the Indian Laughter clubs, I hadn’t heard of them until Rob mentioned them in an earlier comment.

      Reply
  15. Thank you for this Tammy! It’s important to remember the important healing power of laughter.

    Reply
  16. There is nothing better than laughing. I have always found it “Holy.” It is truly a time “set apart,” and I do my best to keep those “set apart” times as close together as possible! :smile:

    Reply
  17. Thank you Tammy. Love it . I always heard that laughter is the best medine and I try to always have a good laugh even when my mind and heart are going the opposite direction. Thank you for reminding us the importance of it.

    Reply
  18. I love the photo. I also love to laugh, and although I’ve never had milk come out my nose, it’s been a close thing a couple of times.
    Thanks for visiting my site

    Reply
  19. Thanlk you so much for the message in this post! And that photo of the laughing guy is amazing ;-)

    Reply
  20. Great post! And happy 100th post for you! I’m finding it hard to get my daily posts in now that I’m retired. Maybe I will find a routine…soon.

    Linda

    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    Reply
  21. Teehee, I’ve made that version of Rob’s dish on ym blog too! And how fitting that we’ve both posted tributes to her at the same time :D

    Reply
  22. This weekend I had to go out of town, and the saga of our hotel room was a comedy of errors. By the end of it all, it was impossible not to laugh!

    Reply
    • So glad that you treated that way as opposed to being agitated. It’s so much better for you.

      Reply
  23. I’m a great believer in the healing power of laughter.

    Good luck with being vegan for a month :)

    Reply
  24. Tammy, thanks for your comment on my blog, it’s always great to connect to someone new! Interesting to hear you say you and your dh have given up beer for August. I’ve given up wine for August, but it’s just making me drink more beer!

    I couldn’t agree more that Laughter Is The Best Medicine.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the return favor and yes, funny about wine! I’ll expect a report to hear how you’ve done.

      Reply
  25. Girl in the raw has some fabulous recipes! And i love the laughter tips. I should put these on my fridge. :P

    Reply
    • Yes, she’s got a good story too! Can you imagine eating raw and living in Saudi? Thanks for your visit.

      Reply
  26. Another wonderful post, Tammy. I love that research has supported the idea that laughter is good for us – it seems it should go without saying! And I agree with the recommendations for David Sedaris and John Cleese. The Santa Diaries (as read by Sedaris on This American Life) and Fawlty Towers are two things that make me laugh until it hurts. Thanks for the smile!

    Reply
    • Sounds like we have something else in common Mary – our humor! Hope you’re doing well.

      Reply
  27. I went on a weekend trip with my family, and we laughed so so hard on the drive out. We were playing silly games and making up stories, the game where we each say a sentence, and then the next person has to say the next sentence, all the while trying to build some kind of story. It was so bizarre and funny!

    So, my favorite way to stimulate laughter is definitely fooling around with my kids. It works!

    Reply
  28. Being light-hearted is the key to youthfulness and a healthy and happy life. Thanks for sharing this Tammy.

    Reply
  29. Well, you know I read this with a smile on my face! Just loved it. Laughter is contaigous for me. When ever I hear someone laughing, it makes me smile or laugh. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Blessings,Kathleen

    Reply
  30. Laughter really is good, in so many ways. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  31. Okay, I should definitely laugh more! I have my humor, but it’s not of the kind that I often burst into tears.

    I love veggie “pasta”, but I’ve never tried it raw! Well, I’ve had raw cucumbers in a salad, and they were great, but not zucchini!

    Reply
  32. Great post !
    Thank you ;-)

    Reply
  33. Laughter is incredibly powerful, it was funny as I read this I kept thinking of Anderson Coopers recently uncontrolled fit of giggles.

    I’ve never gone totally vegan but I do love alot of the ideas and recipes. I just wish some of them did not seem so time consuming. I’m a one pot cook at the moment.

    Reply
    • I wish I’d seen the Anderson Cooper giggles! And I know what you mean. The raw thing is not a time savings because you don’t cook.

      Reply
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