Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Posted on: 19/03/2021

Today we celebrated Red Nose Day for Comic Relief and the school was an abundance of red as we all joined together to raise money for this super charity which supports people who are living incredibly tough lives. Celebrities all over the UK have joined together to encourage us all to turn laughs into lasting change. We thank you for all your donations and hope that the children enjoyed their day.

It is certainly not just on Red Nose Day once a year that we embrace the power of fun and laughter at St. Helen’s College! The adults at school have the privilege of having the best medication available on tap every day and that is the power of your children’s laughter.  

Through this incredibly difficult past year, your children have brought us all joy, whether that has been in school as part of our critical worker groups or face to face when we have been together as a community.  

Laughter is on the curriculum, the co-curriculum, on the lunch menu, in the playground - it leaves a trail of happiness and a sense of wellbeing and can even lead to sore stomachs for those of us who have had a really hearty serving of it! I am even contemplating a new business model: bottling up the laughter of your children and selling it at a prime price - SHC & tonic! The most refreshing and invigorating way to boost your immune system!

During the last lockdown period, on duty at Lower School in the mornings, I was treated to a daily joke from one of the children. Her ability in telling jokes is truly remarkable, but it reminded me of why I never try to tell jokes - I always forget the punchline! Please do not let me think that I am alone in this? But it is not just telling jokes which brings so much laughter to our school - it is the authenticity of the pleasure and fun that your children have in being part of our unique community. I certainly do not remember laughing so much with my teachers when I was a child, but as I visit the classrooms around the school there truly is a sense of fun, pride and incredible humility in the relationships between the children with each other, the children with the adults and the adults with each other. Don’t get me wrong - we do take learning very seriously - but we make learning enjoyable and that even leads to children laughing when they are learning! We have the recipe and ingredients just right to create happy, successful, confident and inquisitive children.  

Some of the children have been writing recipes for ‘happiness’ and they used phrases such as a sprinkling of laughter, a dollop of laughter, a chuckle of laughter…..Your children are very astute and know that laughter is important to their wellbeing. 

But now to you as parents - I hope that each day in your work and personal life that you are as privileged as the adults at St. Helen’s College are with your daily dose of laughter. How is your laughter gauge looking?  

Even in the most difficult times in our lives, we must not lose sight of the power of laughter and the therapeutic value it brings. I will share with you a very personal moment - my father sadly passed away back in 2002 when he was only 62 after a long battle with cancer. He was incredibly proud and organised and had put everything in place for when he finally had to leave us. The day after he died we had to access certain documents and he had put everything together in a new filing cabinet which he had been meticulous in organising. However...he omitted to tell us where the key was! I shall say no more...but the laughter between my sister, mum and I that day was the tonic we all needed - he certainly had the last laugh! Some twenty years on I still smile and chuckle when I recall the scenario! 

We must not lose the ability to laugh nor feel guilty about laughing when life has been really difficult, for it is a physical human reaction to an internal or external stimuli and can often be what is needed.

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

I will leave you with this simple poem:

Laughter is infectious.
It is a joyful sound that,
Once it starts ringing,
Passes all around.

Laughter is infectious.
Some folks have no clue
As to what another’s laughter
Could do unto you.

Laughter is infectious.
You can get it on a whim,
But chances of it harming
Are very, very slim.

Walterrean Salley

Mrs. Drummond