It is Red Nose Day on Friday 19 March and unlike most of you I remember the very first one in 1988 which raised a huge £15 million! I was just starting out on my teaching career and the whole school, all wearing red noses, went out on the playing field to watch the head of PE and a deputy head take off in a hot air balloon. Since then, challenges and cake sales have come and gone, and much money has been raised to support people who need that extra help. In fact, since 1988 over one billion pounds have been raised for good causes.
Red Nose Day is back and as its headline says, “it’s never felt more important to have some fun and raise money to support people living incredibly tough lives.”
And laughing is really such good medicine:
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. 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.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
- Laughter burns calories. Okay, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
- Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
- Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
The Aspire students know the power of laughter, as their countdown to Christmas Kind Acts involved telling jokes to friends and families. There are many ways of sharing fun and laughter with each other despite the social distancing rules. One of the ways I really like from the Red Nose Day website is the Share A Smile poster. The idea is to download the poster and write up your favourite joke and then put the poster in a window so as people pass by they can read and smile as they go on their daily exercise or walk to work or school.
Just think of those out walking – how great they will feel as they read joke after joke. It will really brighten their day! And it can start a discussion within your family over what is the funniest joke and as you discuss this think of the laughs you will have telling the jokes. To get you going here are a few from Matt Lucas’ My Very, Very, Very Funny Silly Book of Jokes that the Aspire students received at Christmas.
How do bees get to school?
On the school buzz
Why did the computer squeak?
Someone stepped on its mouse
Waiter, Waiter, will my pizza be long?
No madam, it will be round
So, what is stopping you getting out your old joke books or looking online and using the power of funny to turn laughs into lasting change?