> People and Places | Stress Busters > Laughter, the Ultimate Stress Buster

Laughter, the Ultimate Stress Buster

Today, there are many ways on how to de-stress.You may opt to go to a spa, visit an interesting place, or simply stay at home and watch your favorite movie, listen to your favorite music, or read a book. But did you know that laughter is a great stress reliever too? Comic impersonator Willie Nepomuceno shares his thoughts on how laughter can relieve stress, and narrates his stint in a stressful business like the entertainment industry.

The impersonator
As a child,Willie dreamt of becoming an actor and a singer. But because his looks do not qualify then as “movie star-like”, he mimicked popular movie personalities like Edgar Mortiz, Eddie Peregrina,andTirso Cruz Ill so he could fulfill his dream of becoming an a and a singer.”Nung time na yun, USG, mga pogi, disqualified na aka strategy, kinopya ko yung mga sikat noon. Nag-click and I stuck to it,” he recounts.

Willie started impersonating personalities when he was a student activist in college at the University of the Philippines during anti-Marcos rallies. According to Willie, “Impersonation is my way to express my concern as a Filipino. Like art, I express or ventilate an issue through painting, dance, music, humor, or writing?” From then on, his career as an impersonator became a hit as he imitated some of the most famous names in showbiz and politics like the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Senator Gringo Honasan, former President Fidel Ramos, and many others. At present, he is best known for mimicking former President Joseph Estrada.

Willie also became a household name through his many appearances in various television shows. His first television stint was in ABS-CBN 2’s popular gag show “Super Laff-In” where he was a semi-regular guest. He also became a regular performer in Nora Aunor’s TV show “Superstar” over RPN 9. Before People Power I, he was one of the hosts of a noontime show “Ang Galing” in PTV 4, a competing rival of today’s popular noontime show “Eat Bulaga”. His most recent TV stint was the now defunct gag show “ISPUP” in ABC 5.

With all the impersonating that he does, Willie’s dream of becoming a serious actor and singer is still a dream for him. “Hindi ako makakanta ng sarili kong boses. Hindi na ako makapag-acting. ‘Pag nag-acting ako, akala ng tao nagpapatawa ako,” he shares.

When asked why he chose impersonating as his profession, he quickly answers that becoming an impersonator came by chance.”I did not choose to be an impersonator, it came to me. Ok na rin sa’kin dahil I enjoy doing it,” he says. He adds that he is happy knowing that he entertains his audience.

Willie’s kind of stress buster
Having performed numerous times in front of large audiences, you might think that Willie had already become accustomed to performing. However, he admits that before, whenever he performed in front of an audience, he felt jittery. He felt stressed. But now, he says every performance that he does is stress-free, especially when he hears his audience laugh. “The first burst of laughter,yun na. Pa-lessen nang pa-lessen yung kaba hanggang sa maging natural no yung performance ko,” he relates. “Minsan, kahit corny na yung binato ko, tumatawa silo… like they are already at the palm of my hands,” he says.

Whenever Willie hears his audience laugh, he feels delighted. “Well, I get high. It’s ecstatic. It means more than a talent fee,” he remarks. Willie believes that laughter has health benefits. “Yeah, laughter somehow is scientifically proven. I’m not familiar with medical terms or chemistry in the body but I’ve read about it,” he says. He recalls that he was even invited to lecture about humor at the Philippine Heart Center once. Willie recommends that it is best to watch the Robin Williams’ movie “Patch Adams” to understand more of the benefits of laughter.

So does he consider himself a funny person? According to Willie, he would rather consider himself as a happy person.”Ang tao na lang ang nagsasabi na funny ako.” He emphasizes that being funny can be interpreted differently — depending on the individual, the person’s experiences, and situations. He says that it is how you perceive things that make it funny.

Willie considers himself as impressionist rather than comedian. “Well, comedian and impersonator have a big difference. I rather call myself an entertainer, or because of what I do, an impressionist.” When Willie performs, he sees to it that somehow, there is a message sent to the audience. “I want to ventilate issues, political, social, whatever that people can relate to,” he says. For Willie, when the audience applauds and laughs, he is happy because he feels that the people understand the issue and the message he wants to impart. Willie performs to entertain people and impart messages that will affect the society.

The truth behind laughter
Needless to say, there’s much truth in the saying that laughter is the best medicine. Studies prove that laughter does wonders, not just a sigh of relief when you’re down, but other health benefits as well. Dr. Robert Holden, a pioneer in the field of positive psychology and personal well-being wrote an article entitled “Laughter is still the best medicine:’ In his article published in Daily Express in November 2004, he cited several evidences that make laughter the inexpensive form of fighting stress.

In the said article, Dr. Holden shows that laughter is a very effective stress buster. For psychologists, they depict people who are prone to stress as “Type H” personalities. The “H” stands for hostile, hurried and humorless. These are people who are too busy to be happy, too busy to smile, and too busy to laugh.

Dr. Patch Adams prescribed laughter as a stress buster. “Overseriousness is a medical emergency,” he says. In addition, physicians discovered that “mirthful laughter experience” reduces the serum levels of cortisol (the hormone produced by the adrenal cortex) and other stress hormones in the body. Unlike other de-stressing exercises that need concentration when meditating, laughter is the easiest form of meditation because you don’t need concentration, rather, it leads you to instant relaxation.

Aside from being a stress buster, laughter is an instant pain reliever. It is a natural pain killer as described by Norman Cousins, an American journalist and is known as the modern “Father of Laughter Therapy”. In his article for the New England Journal of Medicine, Cousins told how he used laughter to heal himself of a painful spinal disease called anakylosing spondylitis. He discovered that 10 minutes of genuine belly-laughter had anaesthetic effect and gave him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. Other research verified that laughter can produce a feel-good chemical called “endorphins” which aids to kill pain.

Laughter also gives our body a good internal massage. Medical researchers found out that when we laugh, our upper body is exercised. As a result, a person experiences physical relaxation such as relaxed muscle tension, reduced nerve stress, restored breathing pattern, and expanded body circulation.

Dr. William Fry, Jr., a psychiatrist and professor emeritus from the Stanford University School of Medicine observed that laughter was primarily a vigorous respiratory activity. He described laughter as . “internal aerobics” and “stationary jogging” to illustrate the physical effects of good laugh. As a neer in the field of humor research, his research found that laughter, like physical exercise increases heart rate, expands circulation and enhances oxygen intake. He calculated that 100 to 200 belly laughs a day is the equivalent of a high-impact workout that can help burn 500 calories.

According to Dr. Fry, who is also the recipient of the American Association for Therapeutic Humor (AATH) Lifetime Achievement Award, “the activity of laughter disturbed the usual predictable pattern of respiration, increased the minute volume, and created a forceful exhalation which could mobilize secretions.”

Laughter’s other health benefits include:

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improves stamina
  • Controls high blood pressure
  • Provides increased lung capacity and exercise of the diaphram and abdominal muscles that enables one to have better control over speech
  • Makes people look young

In a world where stress is in table, it is vital to combat stress. of us probably wouldn’t want to, gives life some spice and e But if stress gets out of control, it ay harm your health, your relationships, and your enjoyment of life. Through proper management of stress, we can live a happy and healthy life. Let’s all have a good laugh more often and have a stress-free life.

Related terms:

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

» Tags: , , , ,

Related terms:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *