28/02/19 More Laughter Please!

ECP coach Rob talks about the power of laughter and why we should let a little absurdity into our lives. Find out more in this week’s Weekly English Practice!


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More laugher please!

Smiling and laughing are contagious, so why not spread the joy? 

Before you read the complete article, look at this vocabulary:

It happens/happened to …: Coincidently, by coincidence

womb: the part of a women’s body where the baby is conceived and gestated

to berate: to criticise or reproach a person

daft: silly, foolish, imprudent

to have a paddle: to walk with your feet in the water

”Sod off”: a rude, informal way to say “Go away!” 

”For God’s sake”: used to emphasise what you are saying when you are annoyed

to cry out for: a to make an obvious demand for something

Listen to the audio (refresh the page if it’s not visible)

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 18,200th day alive. It happened to coincide with the day that would have been my dad’s 90th birthday, so to honour his memory and the eighteen thousand, two hundred days I have survived (so far) outside my mom’s womb, I had a couple of pints of English ale and snacked on some of his, and my, favourite food (tripe, pork crackling, pigs’ ears and black pudding). Tuesdays aren’t normally particularly interesting but this one was thoroughly enjoyable!

Celebrating days instead of years? “That’s absurd,” people always tell me. I don’t care, I reply. It makes me happy, it gives me a reason to celebrate and I have a laugh with people when I explain it to them. You should see their faces when I use an app to calculate the amount of days they have been breathing air. It’s both fun and funny.

But those people who berate me for being absurd will then dress up in ridiculous costumes and dance around the streets in unison with thousands of other Gasteiztarras. They’ll do something daft  when everyone else does it at the same time (i.e. Carnival) but won’t do anything fun and enjoyable on their own accord the rest of the year. Who’s being absurd now? 

In winter, despite the cold, I always walk barefoot along the beach and I always have a paddle. I don’t care if I get my trousers wet or get sand in my shoes. It’s invigorating and fun – especially when the waves splash over you. “Don’t be silly,” they say. “It’s too cold to do that.” Sod off, you miserable buggers! I reply, as I splash water in their direction.

Recently, I’ve been recording short videos with quick jokes to use in class. I explain some of the language that helps viewers understand the joke and I insert captions and the ECP logo before uploading them to YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. “Why make all that effort?” I’ve been asked. For God’s sake, I reply. What isn’t fun about reading dozens of jokes every day before choosing your favourite one and memorising it to tell all your friends? The world would be a better place if everyone was reading and sharing jokes every day!

Small and simple pleasures can bring smiles to our faces and release endorphins to our brains. Laughing activates and then calms our stress response, which in turn increases our heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling. Laughter also stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, thereby reducing some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and more serious illnesses.

Laughter can ease pain by producing its own natural painkillers and can make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It helps you connect with other people and attenuates depression. Do I need to list any more medical reasons for laughing a little every day?

We don’t need reasons to do enjoyable, fun or absurd things. Our bodies and minds are crying out for positive stimulation. Feed them! You, and the people around you, will feel so much better for it 🙂

I’ll leave you with one of my dad’s favourite jokes: “My grandfather died when he couldn’t remember his blood type. He kept saying, “Be positive, be positive,” but life has been really difficult without him.” Do you get it? If not, ask your ECP coach to help you.

Have a fabulous and laughter-filled day!

Written by ECP coach Rob Hextall after reading this by the Mayo Clinic

Let’s chat about that!

Write your opinions in an email and send them to your ECP coach!

  • Do you know how many days you have been alive?
  • Does anyone ever tell you that what you are doing is daft or absurd?
  • What makes you smile? What makes you laugh?
  • Have you laughed today? What about? Who with? 


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