16.2 C
Byron Shire
June 23, 2024

Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh

Latest News

Drones not detonation

The extraordinary popularity of the Vivid light shows in Sydney has exploded this year, but quietly, thanks to the...

Other News

Assange appeal

Yet another year has passed and Wednesday, 3 July is Julian Assange’s 53rd birthday. It will be the sixth birthday...

Inequity underpins solar-battery rebates

Over 3.2 million Australian households now have solar systems, and NSW leads, with a million systems (rooftop, heated pool or hot water).

Bruns garden for community under threat

Bruns local Toni Storer thought one way to help her neighbours and other locals to survive the economic downturn was to stop mowing and weeding the Council strip at the front of her house and to pop in a veggie garden.

Young runner qualifies for regional championships

Year four student at Goonengerry Public School Thea Ramsay has qualified for the North Coast Regional Cross Country Championships...

Yogaing out

Sadly, two of Byron’s best yoga studios close this month. Bamboo Yoga has been providing a beautiful space and...

Why have NSW Labor failed to hold their promised drug summit?

On budget eve the banner ‘Premier, you promised. Drug Summit Now’ was dropped across from NSW Parliament calling on NSW Labor to set a date for the long awaited NSW Drug Summit.

Prof Bob Morgan

I confess to having no clinical or medical training, but my reading of some of the literature increasingly tells me that laughter, and the hormones that trigger it, is a powerful healing and comforting tool that serves to help us cope with stress, anxiety, trauma and the challenges associated with living and navigating modern life.

Mental health issues are an increasing concern for clinicians and allied health workers, and given the trauma associated with coping in a world affected by a global pandemic, my non-clinical eye tells me that the longer the pandemic lingers, the bigger the incidence of mental illness in a post-pandemic world.

Professor Bob Morgan is a Gumilaroi man from Walgett in western NSW. Photo supplied.

Humour generally, and laughter in particular, have always been key coping mechanisms in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Indigenous communities around the globe. There are always scallywags, men and women, who made people laugh to help forget, for a few minutes, the trauma of racism, living in poverty and social segregation.

Growing up in the shanties on the banks of the Namoi river in Walgett, stories were an important part of our survival, and were regularly used to ignite raucous mirth and laughter. These stories were as eagerly awaited as were the mystic and mystery of the many ‘ghost stories’ told around camp fires.

There were Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scallywags, yarn-spinners who would try to outdo each other about the size of a fish that was caught/ got away, or who had the most obedient dog etc. One such legend was the non-Aboriginal father of one of my best mates, Ray Morris.

Ray’s father had a reputation in Walgett and surrounding towns as a great yarn spinner, and one of the yarns I recall him telling to a group of us young kids one day was of two old blokes boasting about the most obedient dog they had worked with. One bloke said that his dog was so clever and obedient that all he had to do was whistle and his dog would immediately jump on the back of his wagon and he would be panting, ready for work.

The other old bloke was a drover and he told his mate; ‘That’s nothing, my dog was so clever and obedient that once I was in Coonamble (just over a 100kms away), and I was in a phone booth talkin’ to a mate and I remembered that I left my best dog in Walgett. I told my mate to put the phone to my dog’s ear and I whistled, and when I finished the call and left the phonebooth, my dog was there outside the booth waiting for me, that’s how clever and obedient my dog was’.

Such tall tales filled and excited the imagination of growing boys.

There’s another story of an old Aboriginal bloke who was sitting on a doorstep when he was approached by a tourist who was passing through town. The tourist stopped to ask directions to a neighbouring town, and the old bloke pointed to a road out of town and said to the tourist, ‘You’ve taken everything else from us, so just take that road and it will take you to the next town’. The tourist had a good laugh and apologised and gave the old bloke a good tip for his truth and ‘advice’.

There are a number of hormones that reportedly trigger chemical reactions in the human body. These hormones are transported through the bloodstream to help regulate mood and excite sensitivities. The hormones are collectively referred to as the ‘happy hormones’ and include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins.

Endorphins are perhaps the most relevant hormone when the notion of laughter and happiness is considered. Endorphins are produced by the central nervous system and when activated they help us deal with, among other things, pain or stress. Endorphins are the high that we get when we do things such as eat, exercise, or have sex.

Serotonin is a hormone that helps moderate our mood, our feelings of wellbeing, and general happiness. It also helps to reduce our worries and concerns and is associated with learning and memory.

Serotonin is released when we do things that we often take for granted such as a walk in the outdoors, especially during sunny days, a healthy rest and good night’s sleep, each of these in their own way, helps to reduce our stress levels.

So, bring on the laughter, unleash the happy hormones and whilst we mourn the loss of life, let’s also have some levity to help us cope with the stress of surviving this global pandemic.

As Lord Bryon counselled, ‘Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine’

Previous articleLockdown cells
Next articleWhat’s with the bollards?

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Cars and other items stolen from Brunswick Heads

Local police are warning residents in the Byron Shire to be diligent in maintaining their home security after personal items and vehicles were stolen from Brunswick Heads yesterday.

Yes, peace is the solution

Both Duncan Shipley-Smith and John Scrivener yet again display the same responses that I talk about over, and over and over again. They do...

Teething problem

I think it’s really stupid and potentially dangerous that the concept of an absorption period of charging a lead acid battery has been transferred...

Rising Tide activists head to Justine Elliot’s office with kayaks

Today saw just over 40 people kayak from John Follent Park in Tweed Heads to Faux Park in South Tweed, before walking close to a one km with their kayaks to the Labor Member for Richmond's Office to demand an end to new fossil fuel projects.