[FOUNTAIN]How a laugh turns a frown upside downVeteran comedian Gu Bong-seo said, “There is no retirement in laughing.” Just as his nickname, “Baby,” suggests, it is hard to guess his age after all these years. He likes to say his age depends on the mood of the day. When asked how old he is, he would joke, “I am 49.” And then he would continue, “You know, Gu Bong-seo has been around for a long time. I am actually 59.” Mr. Gu debuted over 60 years ago, but his face doesn’t look octogenarian thanks to decades of laughing and smiling.
Devoted to the comedy program titled, “Luck Comes with Laughs,” Mr. Gu says that the best kind of comedy is full of pathos that “makes you laugh hard but leaves some tears in your eyes in the end.” It describes the pain within the beauty, the humanitarianism blooming in the hardship. In filmmaker Lee Man-hui’s “A Marine Who Never Returns,” his character’s last line before dying is, “Who will make you guys laugh when I die?” It contained the depth that Mr. Gu praises.
Experts studying the effect of laughter agree that laughing physiologically has a natural pain-killing effect. In short, laughter is a good natural medicine. Laughing boosts your circulation, and you will be more energized while feeling less stress and tension. The movement of muscles can help you lose weight too. At the same time, your immune system and resistance will improve. Laughter is, in effect, a free panacea.
When you laugh, you can make people’s hearts change. Just like the old Korean saying, “You cannot spit on a laughing face,” laughter is the channel of conversation and key to opening minds. According to experiments, you will feel more intimate with someone after watching a funny comedy than with someone with whom you saw a gloomy movie. There is a statistic that a child laughs several hundred times a day while an adult laughs only about 15 times a day. The more you laugh, you might be younger at heart.
On March 20, the International Conference on Healthy Aging and Longevity, held in Brisbane, Australia, concluded that you should laugh more to live longer. Dr. Charmaine Power’s research team at Flinders University surveyed 24 seniors over age 100, and all of them are easygoing and can laugh off difficulties without agonizing. One of the project surveyors said that being with the centenarians made him joyful. Those who live past age 100 have conquered the hardships of living with their sense of humor, so they enjoy life.
As the country is going through a turbulent time, we might have more frowning faces than smiling ones.
by Chung Jae-suk
The writer is a deputy culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.