Without a doubt, laughter is one of the best forms of medicine in the world. Laughing is about more than just the temporary endorphin rush we get when we find something funny. It can have a significant impact on our health and well-being. This fact is even supported by the Mayo clinic, who explain how laughing has a lasting and positive impact on your immune system, “… positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.” The more you laugh, the less ill you might actually be, giving you more reasons than ever to tickle your funny bone.
This is exactly why April 1st is National Smile Day in Australia. The Humour Foundation established National Smile Day as a way to fundraise for their laughter-based charity. While the organization might just sound like fun and games, it’s actually an incredible group with a very important mission.
What the Humour Foundation Does
No one wants to spend time in the hospital, least of all children. Still, at an age when they should be playing on the playground with their friends, many children are unfortunately confined to hospitals battling severe and often life-threatening illnesses. The time they spend at the doctor can be intimidating and scary, and watching their parents try to cope with the anxiety of having a sick child can be even tougher to deal with for a young child. Taking care of a sick child can be expensive, stressful, and chaotic time for a family, and often children are extremely perceptive and understand that something is wrong.
Instead of focusing on their illnesses all day every day, the Humour Foundation helps to bring some joy to the kids’ days through what they call diversion therapy. “Each year, Clown Doctors help lighten the serious side of hospital for more than 135,000 people in the hospital community through diversion therapy – parodying the hospital routine and with laughter, jokes and songs for sick children.” The impact that this group has on the lives and spirits is immeasurable.
Creating hilarious interactions between clown doctors and patients can bring a sense of lightness to the hospital stay. Even more, these clown doctors help to remove some of the fear and mystery that come from a lot of doctors’ visits. Children often don’t know what to expect, or why they need to be inside a checkup room all of the time. The Clown Doctors put a humorous spin on these visits by creating parody checkups and routine procedures. Making light of what the children go through in a respectful manner means the kids can take a step back from the stress they go through every day and get to just be kids.
Why It’s an Important Mission
If you have ever been to the doctor or stayed at a hospital you know they can be pretty stressful and depressing places. The mood only seems to dip when you have little children hooked up to complex machines and families hoping for positive outcomes. While laughter can improve your immune system, it can also do many other incredible things, including helping improve recall and memory. This benefit seems to be extremely deep-rooted, and makes another good case for children to laugh more after all, they’re still growing.
The values of the Humour Foundation is to, “go in with an open heart; play, with respect; connect with compassion; and uplift the spirit.” Essentially, these clown doctors work to infuse joy into an otherwise depressing situation and try to change the way children view their doctor visits.
How You Can Help
To support this wonderful mission, you have a few options. One way to ensure that the clown doctors can continue to bring joy to children is by supporting a clown doctor for one month. If you want to get a group together and make an even bigger impact, you could even organize one of their Fun-Raising events. These events include ideas like trivia nights and sports competitions or even something a bit more whimsical like a funny hat competition. The important bit is that everyone who participates makes a small donation that will go directly to support the Humour Foundation’s mission. You can even offer some prizes to increase the incentive to participate. If you need help planning an event, the Clown Doctors are more than happy to help assist you. Even better, if you have a great idea for a Fun-Raising event, they would be excited to hear about it. In the end, the point of your event is to put a smile on a child’s face, and what is more worthwhile than that?