Ros Ben-Moshe on her book "The Laughter Effect", Joy and Optimism
"People make me optimistic. Just walking in the street and those incidental conversations or smiles that are shared make me optimistic."
On the day of release, Ros Ben-Moshe generously joined The Centre for Optimism to talk about her book "The Laughter Effect – How to Build Joy, Positivity and Resilience in Your Life."
Victor Perton: What inspired your new book "The Laughter Effect – How to Build Joy, Positivity and Resilience in Your Life"? What made you want to write this book?
Ros Ben-Moshe: I felt very called to write this book, and obviously, I've been playing in the laughter space for nearly 20 years. I've lived and laughed through my own experience with bowel cancer. Also, I am passionate about how much laughter impacts our positive well-being.
And I've been inspired by so many other people that I thought, right, I have to put all of this together.
So, there was just a lot to talk about in a book, my experience bringing laughter into dialysis wards or laughter into aged care, and other ways in which we can get some action-based positivity happening to promote positive well-being.
Victor Perton: Ros, you know, you are my laughter muse. At almost every live event when I am speaking, I promise the audience that they will either leave singing, laughing, or both. Almost always, we end with laughter: The energy that it brings that your people leave the room sparkling.
As you know, when you visit the Centre for Optimism, you are always asked what makes you optimistic.
So, Ros, what makes you and makes you feel optimistic?
Ros Ben-Moshe: "People make me optimistic. Just walking in the street and those incidental conversations or smiles that are shared make me optimistic.
Tuning into the wonderful work that you do, Victor, makes me optimistic. And the positive news network, there is so much good happening in the world. We just need to open our eyes to it.
So, optimism or pessimism comes from wherever you place your attention. And I am very blessed to have that disposition that I tend to make an effort to always focus on what is going well, even if there are some storm clouds brewing."
Victor Perton: As you know, this year, we've partnered with the art and science of joy, and I'm convinced that optimistic people experience more joy because, of course, they're looking for the good.
Ros Ben-Moshe: Yes, that's right.
Victor Perton: Now, in your book, as you know, my eyes are always drawn to the passages that have the word optimism in them, and there are two lovely sentences in your book. "Positive humour is generally associated with higher self-esteem, optimism of life satisfaction, with reductions in depression, anxiety, and stress. It is a means of expressing our humanity in an empathetic and kind way."
Do you want to tell us a little bit more about the importance of positive humour rather than any old humour?
Ros Ben-Moshe: "Positive humour is a great tool to enhance resilience and reduce stress. When you can laugh at your problems, positive humour is a gateway to connecting with other people. When you can share a laugh and that common humour, it really brings people together as opposed to negative humour that drives people apart. There are so many benefits to positive humour. It's a way of connecting to joy, to fun, building bridges and being able to diminish stress and how we respond to stressful things. If we can respond with levity and humour, then we can diminish some of the associated stress or trauma."
Victor Perton: "I'm an avid fan of the book, and I'm going to be promoting it wherever I can, but just tell us, what I like about the book is it talks about the history of laughter. I love the idea that our sixth sense is humour, self-compassion, with a smile. So, tell us about the structure of the book and how people should read it, absorb it, and learn the lessons that will change their lives."
Ros Ben-Moshe: "Sure. So, as you said, so it starts with the history of laughter. And why that is important is because there's a lot of, people out there who would say, oh, this is just some new hippie, trippy fad, let's laugh and hahaha at our problems, which can be quite toxic and insincere. So, I wanted to pitch laughter as part of basic human functioning which has been part of communities from the beginning - indigenous communities, biblical communities, and right through to the medieval times when court jesters were often called upon before the doctor. I thought it was really important to contextualize laughter as not just something thatI think isa great idea. Communities have been drawing on this resource for centuries. And I didn't want this book just to be laughed at.
"So, then I go into laughter as part of our evolutionary mechanism of “thrival” as opposed to survival. Charles Darwin, I think, in many regards, should be known as an advocate for laughter and smiling as a way of building connections and maintaining our humanity and survival throughout history. So, I talk about that on an individual level, for example, we hahaha as little babies before we dada or mama. So, laughter is very fundamental to how we communicate, connect and create bonds from a very early age. Even at the end stage of life, and I've seen this with both my parents who had Alzheimer's, laughter and smiling was actually one of the last things that left. Communication and words had long gone, but the ability to laugh and ability to smile, even perhaps without the context, was still there.
Then I move on to whether laughter is the best medicine.
"I wanted to give people some examples of some amazing research in the field of both humour and non-humour-based laughter therapies. I learned so much about humour and laughter when I was researching for this book. Whether daily laughter keeps you living longer, living better, how it impacts things like anxiety or depression, and even evidence regarding its impact on physical pain So, there was a lot that went into that chapter.
"Then I talk about intentional laughter practices. Because the reality is that in life, unless you're part of a forum like this and you are like Will, a 15 out of 10 at the beginning of the day, most people wait for something funny to happen to laugh or for all of the stars to align and their lives to be perfect, to allow themselves to enjoy their days. So, intentional laughter practices like laughter yoga, for example, give people the skills to be able to switch on and load up on laughter as an exercise, and then the feeling follows. So, it's a body-mind practice. Intentional smiling and laughter are really game changer when it comes to people's mental health.
"Then I dig a little bit deeper into the neuroscience of smiling, and talk about mirror neurons, and how if I'm smiling at you, the mirror neurons in my brain are firing, and then your mirror neurons will begin firing, and talk a little bit about the contagiousness of laughter and why that is.
"And then, the last three chapters are about adding a new dimension to self-care.
"I talk about gleeful gratitude. So, that's really embodying gratitude. It's even going deeper than a lot of other, philosophies around happiness.
"Then I talk about self-compassion with a smile, once again adding that embodiment factor, really smiling into some of your perceived imperfections. Then I talk about reframing and positive journaling. We all know that people turn to the written word when basically the shit hits the fan, but what about journaling with positive intent, and how that really opens up that light and levity even during a challenging time. For example you can take a challenging time and look at it through the lens of gratitude, or take a stressful situation and view it through the lens of love.
"And then, importantly, positivity is a verb. It's an action-based thing. So, I don't just want to leave it to thinking and hoping that this is going to work. Then I bring it all together, and conclude with the laughter effect in practice,. I go through various life stages and contexts: relationships, parenting, the workplace, during illness, and how you can apply the laughter effect to life, to essentially turbocharge your joy and optimism and really squeeze out as much positivity in your life to enhance your well-being. So, not leaving these outcomes to chance."
Victor Perton: "Well, turbocharging optimism through laughter sounds like my thing."
Kay Clancy: Ros, have you always been a laughter person? So, I've always been a laughter person since I was really little. I sometimes laugh inappropriately, and I do; I find the fun, the joy, and the laughter in everything. Have you always been a laughter person, or is it something you've learned?
Ros Ben-Moshe: "It's an interesting question that I address in my book.
"I was a Giggling Gertie. It didn't take much to get me to laugh. I was far from being the class clown because I was far too shy for that.
"Then something really interesting happened. When I was in primary school, about age eight, there was a big cement pylon that was put into the playground, and I was really into my sport at the time, and I wanted to clamber on top before any of the boys got there. And as I clambered on top, I lost my footing and ended up smashing my front tooth. And so, this new tooth that hadn't popped through that long was basically gone, and I was left looking like a pirate and sent home with an airbag lift and swiftly off to the dentist.
"And in those days, I suppose eight-year-olds didn't really have too much of a say as to the plan, and it was decided that I would have a silver cap put on my tooth, until adolescence, and the other teeth had all come through. So, I spent a good few years with a silver tooth. And I noticed reflecting, when I was writing this book, I actually reflected back to think, in those years actually, the laughter side of me actually shut down to an extent. And any photo of me, for example, during that time was with a tight closed lip.
"So, I'd say, yes, I've always had the disposition to laugh, but then this very strange physical thing happened, and when my tooth was restored to white, my smile was restored, and so was my laughter. Thank you.
Mary Kay Morrison: I have admired Ros's work for a very long time. So, kudos to you, Ros. And just so excited about the release of this book. I'm praying that we will be able to get it in the United States, and you'll have to let me know when it is available. But, what was the most significant or interesting research that you reviewed that was a surprise to you or something that was an aha moment?
Ros Ben-Moshe: "Oh, great question. Should have come prepared for that. There honestly were so many aha moments. There was some of the laughter stuff, the fact that it even changes your genes, they found, I don't know where it is, I could try and find it. So, that was pretty incredible.
"Accidental research like that of Australian neuroscientist Professor Jack Pettigrew who was investigating how the brain processes optical illusions and found a by-product of a good laugh is that it alters how a person perceives a drawn figure. He was telling a joke to one of his research participants when he made his discovery by accident. Laughter modifies our brain state, changing our perception, and that was really quite amazing.
"And then hearing people's stories. An incredible woman Kim O'Meara from Western Australia, has taken laughter yoga into Rwanda. Laughter yoga has actually been endorsed by the Rwandan government as part of the reconciliation between formally warring families. And it is absolutely just jaw-dropping. In fact, Victor, in terms of optimism, Kim or Angel Kimmy, is the ultimate optimist.
"This is about an intentional laughter practice, addressing the question “Can laughter bring world peace?”
"So, the first example I give is about Rwanda, and the second I give is about Israel and Palestine. Laughter yoga is changing lives in the least likely of places.
Let me read you an extract from the book.
Rwanda is a nation with a recent history wrapped in terror and trauma. In just 100 days in 1994, 70% of the nation's Tutsi population as well as moderate Hutus, approximately 800,000 people in total, were slaughtered by ethnic Hutu extremists. Victims were killed in their own villages or towns, many by their neighbours and fellow villagers. Decades of families and friendships are still torn apart, and Rwanda remains in dire need of healing.
Since 2010, West Australian Kim O'Meara, fittingly known as Angel Kimmy, has been spreading laughter yoga throughout Rwanda. A little background on O'Meara. In 2000 she was diagnosed with CREST syndrome, a subtype of scleroderma, this condition, whose name means hardened skin, affects many internal organs and can become life-threatening. She was given three years to live. Anyway, O'Meara began laughing. She laughed about everything that had happened to her up until that moment, including being abused as a child.
She laughed to a point many would deem inappropriate. Yet, O'Meara is quick to point out there is always inappropriateness and meaning in something. If you can laugh down to your belly about something other people can't even smile about, you can heal. You've got your life down pat. Everything happens for a reason. Everything is valid. All you have to do is keep going on until you find the funny side of it. Without laughter, she's certain she would have died. A true optimist, she recounts a line from one of her favourite movies, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
If a story does not have a happy ending, it is not the ending yet. Adding, stories go through drama, trauma, romance, and comedy, and until you get to the part where the sum of these experiences is the joy of who you are, the expression of your life, then your story has not finished.
Researching and talking to people over the globe. I was just in awe of how people have used tools like humour and laughter to transform their lives. So, yes, it was a combination of the actual research, Mary Kay, but also people's stories.
Janni Goss: I'm so glad you spoke about Angel Kimmy, who is a very close friend of mine. After three and a half years of work by many people, Rotary International has provided a grant for laughter yoga training in 15 villages in Rwanda so that the local people can come together and find healing and forgiveness, and it's been extremely successful. And that's all due to the fact that Kimmy introduced laughter yoga to Rwanda.
Ros Ben-Moshe: Absolutely. And I was so pleased I got to put that fact in my book.
Victor Perton: And Janni, are you a laughter yoga practitioner?
Janni Goss: Indeed, I am. I'm an internationally accredited laughter yoga leader, teacher and ambassador. I trained with Dr Kataria when he came to Perth here in November 2000, and it's been a very significant part of my life.
Ros Ben-Moshe: Janni is an inspiration, and I have highlighted Janni's very special laughter prescription in the book.
Janni Goss: "Well, I felt that if laughter is the best medicine, you probably need a prescription so you get the dose right and all that thing."
Victor Perton: Martin Gillespie, you are doing a lot of work with men and, particularly, men who've had a tough time. How do you incorporate laughter and old-fashioned male humour into your work?
Martin Gillespie: Laughter is one of the best medicines, and I'm privileged to be Scottish because we grew up with the laughter of Billy Connolly. We grew up also with the laughter of Monty Python. And, like Ros, for those who don't know, I've experienced a similar passage and illness kind of stuff. And laughter, without a doubt, was one of the cornerstones to get you through the hard times. And I would say that laughter, again, tapping into my Scotticism, it's free, but bloody well use it. But, well done, Ros, for putting a book together to say laughter is a sign of love, and it's a sign, it's a ripple impact. Once one person starts laughing, everybody else starts laughing, and it's ageless from the newborn baby right through to the 95-year-old. We all have these talents; well, use them.
Victor Perton: "So, Ros, is there something special about Scottish humour or humour delivered with a Scottish accent? What's the cultural side of it?"
Ros Ben-Moshe: "I can't really comment other than the fact that I love it. Can't understand half of it, but I love it.
"I remember one time 20 or so years, 30 or so years ago, I went to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and was just so excited. Went with a Scottish friend, and honestly, I just did not understand anything. I was laughing with the contagion of laughter, but not because of what was said, because I had no idea, the thick Glaswegian; it was a Glaswegian comic."
Victor Perton: I noticed when President Biden was in Ireland over the last few days, there was lots of Irish humour. That notion of when Irish eyes are smiling, it's like a morning spring. Noirin Mosley, Is there something about Gaelic speakers that lends itself to humour?
Noirin Mosley: "I don't know, actually. I think there's a self-deprecation consistent that I see with the Gaelts and with Australia. I just think there's a lovingness about not taking yourself too seriously, and that can lead to a lot of laughter, so I don't know. Yes, I think our accents, Martin, our accents are funny to everyone else; everyone just laughs. I keep saying, do I have an accent? I keep thinking I have an accent. I've been out of Ireland so long, and I keep thinking, oh my God, I suppose I do say some things funny or whatever, but I don't know. But, I think there's a lot of laughter and fun here in Australia, and that's why I think I've settled so well into here. Ros, congratulations. We haven't caught up in a while. Thank you for doing this gorgeous book. I've been catching up on it a little bit, but I love the fact that you call laughter the lightness that can come into our lives.
"Because during COVID, when we ran a lot of our hours of optimism sessions, I've always said that optimism and laughter are such a huge part of what just makes our lives a little bit lighter and brighter if we lean into it. And for me, I think I have a question at the end of this. By the way, for me, I think laughter really for me is the depth of being alive. We can cry, and we can laugh. But, I think when I really, really laugh my head off, I really feel so alive. I feel so alive. So, what I wanted to ask was, do you have, say, three tips around mindset or habits in our daily lives? They can actually make us lean into more laughter because I'd love to even have a few takeaways in my head. Because I just think it's just so important, and I'd love to do more of it. So, any tips?
Ros Ben-Moshe: Absolutely, thanks for that. Well, it can be even as simple as the first thing you do when you wake up is actually place a smile, heartfelt smile on your face, even if you don't especially feel like it, because that then starts to cue your brain to release those well-being hormones, those happy hormones, the dose of well-being, which is dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins. So, that's a really simple thing that we can do. And you can even take it a step further and just smile at yourself in the mirror or even laugh a little bit as you're waiting for the shower water to warm up. The reality is most laughter actually does not occur because of something funny that has happened. Most laughter actually occurs during conversations Known as the punctuation effect. So, make an effort every day to have a conversation with someone and connect with people.
"And you'd be really surprised, as I say, laughter before or after saying “it was so nice seeing you today. It'll be great to see you again. We are 30 times more likely to laugh in social situations, and during conversations, up to 80 percent more than laughing to comedy. And I suppose, another thing you can do, there are so many little tips that I have in my book, but it depends whether you are a writer, for example, you can add a lens of levity to whatever you're writing about. If you are a meditator, add some smiling meditation to your regular meditation practice to get your endorphins going. So, yes, so many things we can do, and they're simple things, but they're significant. So, it is a matter of growing our humour capacity, growing neural pathways that direct us to seek out the smiles and the laughs so they become much more of a part of who we are."
May I follow up on that neural pathways question?
Looking at optimism, for instance, there's a part of the brain that brings joy and the upbeat, and there's the other part of the brain that brings fear and anxiety, and we're born with a natural balance between them. And then, it's habits, isn't it, that help us to be more optimistic and funnier rather than fearful. The habits you suggest include smiling as you get out of bed. Another, laughing during conversation, I always think of the Dalai Lama almost every second sentence he's laughing. You've done a lot of work on the neuroscience of this; you teach at Latrobe University. So, tell us a bit more about what we are learning about the brain science of laughter and well-being.
Ros Ben-Moshe: "Good question. As you say, our habits create our habitat.
"So, if we are accustomed to responding with impatience, negativity, or criticism, we get really good at it.
"However, if we change our habits and start responding with levity, optimism, joy or enthusiasm, that starts to train our brain to respond in that way. So, whatever we practice, we get good at. And that goes from just; you might start off as something you need to think about. Like holding your breath and thinking before you respond. But, in time, that's what the rewiring does, it becomes an unconscious happening.
"So, the question is how consciously are we living? And through various practices, we can create a new wiring of the brain that leans into optimism, positivity, and levity, or not. We can continue passively living and just see how it all plays out, or become really attached to that negative comfort zone that many of us spend a lot of time in. So, again, it's a practice, just like reaching for your pen with your dominant hand; it's the same concept, like bicep curls for neural activity.
Victor Perton: "Tharman, who is the senior minister in Singapore, says that the greatest public policy issue in the world is the collapse of optimism in the developed world. And I think it's associated with a loss of humour. So, he says we've got to create the basis for optimism globally, and a lot of that is in smiling and in laughter. Optimism may be going backwards worldwide. Can you tell us how laughter's going globally?"
Ros Ben-Moshe: "Laughter's going great, seriously.
"There are different aspects; intentional laughter, like laughter yoga, is going great.
"And during the pandemic, rather than signal its death knell, laughter yoga really adapted beautifully to an online environment.
"So, that opened up to so many more people being able to join laughter clubs, no matter the time zone, and not having to worry about germs and things. As for spontaneous laughter, it's a good question. I think it's really interesting. We're in Melbourne, we're just coming to the end of the comedy festival, and people are really craving laughter and just being able to just let it go. And apparently, ticket sales were far higher this year than they were pre-pandemic. So, I think that there's a lot of thirst for laughter, and I think that a lot of people are leaning into laughter. However, obviously, there are many people that are not because life has been challenging globally. So, that's why we need more intentional practices that don't rely on humour to generate it or to have those conversations to get the conversational laughter effect happening."
Victor Perton: "I've been to Rwanda. So, that work that you guys are doing in Rwanda, I think it's exceptional. Rob Masters, you've been a crisis communications leader around the world. You're now working in country Australia. Do you want to share some of those experiences of the effectiveness of laughter in communications and perhaps ask a question to Ros?"
Robert Masters: "Yes, I am working in a region of Victoria at the moment. The interesting thing up here is that they are coming out of a period where there was a government inquiry, and there was a lot of community angst and also a lot of employee angst as a result of that inquiry. So, people are now trying to look for a new direction, not only with internal employee engagement but also with external engagement.
"So, how do you actually change the humour of a community? A population of about 30,000 people?
"We've embarked on what we call a meet and greet program, trying to ascertain from them what they need and what their priorities are, and we've got a meeting this afternoon, which is going for five hours on flood mitigation. And once again, that's sticking to their priorities as far as measures are concerned.
"So, how do you actually change society or seek to change the society of a community when it's virtually down to the likes of myself and that to come up with strategies? So, I'm looking for a strategy that you think is important, say with a community meeting. Do we put some levity into it? Promote, as Victor often says, that out of optimism, all things will turn out okay or fine in the end. Do you try and paint a picture that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel?
Ros Ben-Moshe: Well, I don't envy you, and I wish I just sort of be able to come up with one simple solution. And I think the reality is that these are very complex matters.
"The one thing I can talk to is, I suppose, the importance of community, and being able to perhaps speak up about some of the qualities of individuals in the community, the things that have been going well, to have that practice to herald what you appreciate about that particular community or individuals and, I suppose, grow those things. It's not to diminish all of the challenges and the struggles, but it's to really try and reap more of a culture of gratitude, a culture of connectedness, a culture of unity in order to be able to better cope with whatever the huge issues are.
"I spent a lot of time in aged care years ago when I was running a “laugh out loud” laughter yoga therapy program.
"And the overall environment in 99% of the places at the time was pretty passive. And the staff seemed a bit frazzled, but there was this one particular facility that had a very different culture.It had a holistic culture of gratitude and appreciation, both for the staff and for the residents. They had this whole wall of appreciation in the staff room; people could just put sticky notes on this particular wall of qualities that they admired about someone or things that went well in that particular facility. And I'm not saying it's going to work for a whole of town that's going through serious issues, but it helps shape the sort of culture we are trying to build.
"And the beauty is that they're not doing it by themselves. They're doing it as a community and there's a lot of power in that.
Robert Masters: "I think what you've said, Ros is excellent because a sense of gratitude and a sense of community in all working together for it is a key element that I've just picked up from what you've said."
Victor Perton: Can I ask you a question, Rob? We always think of Australian country culture as being extremely humorous and that laconic humour that the old Crocodile Dundee visiting New York, when he's mugged, and he says you call that a knife. He pulls out a cane cutters machete. Rob, are you still seeing that level of humour in that Murray River region that's had the floods and all sorts of other problems?
Robert Masters: "Yes, I do, Victor. It's a sense of what Ros just said, of gratitude for actually living here. They appreciate what they've got.
"They're proud of some of the natural environments in which they, like up here, that they got beaches on the Murray, and during summer, they had young nippers activity, and they had hundreds of people on the beaches. There are 19 beaches on the Murray, and they're sandy beaches, so they appreciate it. There is a sense of gratitude, and there is a sense of strong community.
"And underneath that all there is that infectious optimism. I think it's really how Ros was describing how you start to bring that out again when there is a number of people that still are in that pessimistic framework."
Victor Perton: Ros, it sounds like it might have to be a Murray River tour by houseboat or something.
"Now, Rod Wade, the eyes of the world were recently on San Diego as our prime minister, and your president and the British Prime Minister signed the most expensive contract for submarines ever done.
"What's happening with laughter andhumour in San Diego? L
Rod Wade: "I heard the French weren't invited to that meeting here in San Diego 😀
"And Ros, it's always a pleasure to listen to you, and I'm having a lot of fun listening to everything and just enjoying the uplifting discussion.
"I actually had given some feedback to our friend, Renée Giarrusso, on her 12 Habits of the Gift Mindset. And I said, where's the humour and laughter gift? Because I need that one in there too. And she said, Rod, I had to limit it to 12. She says you're supposed to laugh at most of them anyway.
"So, I'm here because I attended a conference back in November of 2019 where Victor was one of our keynote speakers at, and I always say, if you've ever seen 500 contracted commercial and procurement professionals up cheering and laughing and yelling and following Victor out of the conference room like he was a rockstar, there's something that is infectious.
"Martin was talking about the contagious nature of laughter and optimism and I agree with him.
"In my opinion, families that share laughter together tend to be closer because it creates a positive and enjoyable atmosphere at home. Before the pandemic, my family and I would occasionally go on cruises when the children were teenagers. They loved attending the comedy shows, which were divided into two parts. The first one was suitable for all ages, while the second one was meant for adults only. We would attend the first show together and later, my wife and I would attend the adult show. One night, we were having a great time, and amidst the laughter, I recognized my children's laughter. They had sneaked in to enjoy the show as well. Instead of separating, we decided to watch the show together as a family. It was a memorable and fun experience."
Victor Perton: "So, Ros, do you want to talk about that? You watch teenage humour now, the F word is there a lot more than it was in my day. So, the use of fruity language in contemporary stage comedy, has something changed there or what's going on with stage comedy?"
Ros Ben-Moshe: "I think it's just generally in, across pop culture, swearing has just become that much more acceptable. And if you have a look at, for example, Wellmania, which is another, it came from another Black Ink title. I tuned into that and it's really very funny, but it's really crude, and it's really crass and it's become just acceptable. And I know with my kids it's like, you don't even bat an eyelid at an F word anymore. So, I don't know, it's never really appealed to me, but I think it's just across cultures, certainly in Western cultures, just that more oversexualized, over gratuitous, over everything. It's just how it is."
Don Morrison: "At first I wanted to compliment Ros, and we've really enjoyed you over the times that we spent with you, and we look forward to seeing you next year in that Rocky Mountain City. The question I have is, did you see any gaps in research that you wished you had found in your study for your book?"
Ros Ben-Moshe: "It's a very good question. Possibly a PhD down the track, I don't know. The one thing is that we all know laughter, per se, is often laughed at. It's not taken seriously nor humour, but positive psychology has been taken much more seriously.
"The gap that I've seen is that to strengthen that connection between laughter and humour within that positive psychology umbrella as an example of an action-based intervention that enhances and expands on positive emotions, resilience and psychological well-being.
"There's so much Don, honestly. It's like; the laughter is the best medicine chapter; it's probably about a third the length of my initial draft because I had to cut out a lot. And it's not like then I could say, tick, I've done that. It's just all the time; there are more things that you learn about, which is wonderful. "
Will Loads: "I'm incredibly grateful for the role that optimism has played in my life, and much of that can be attributed to the positivity of my father and grandfather. When I was a small child and struggling with a medical condition, they never let me feel like I was anything less than capable of achieving great things. They were always there to encourage me and uplift me, even when things got tough.
"And that positivity didn't just stop with me - my grandfather was known for helping the unemployed during the Great Depression by reducing the price of bread, and he always had a big smile on his face. My father was a planner, always looking on the bright side and finding solutions to any problems that came his way. This kind of optimism was contagious, and I'm proud to say that it rubbed off on me too.
"Throughout my life, I've faced my fair share of challenges, but I've always been able to approach them with a positive attitude, largely thanks to the examples set by my father and grandfather. Their legacy of optimism has given me the resilience and determination to overcome adversity; I'll always be grateful for that.
"I'm curious about the impact that your parents' social learning stage had on you. Can you share your insights?"
Ros Ben-Moshe: "Thank you. I actually, I dedicate this book to my parents. And my dad in particular, was a very quick-witted gentleman. And so, again, it's through modelling, isn't it?
"And I was also the youngest by quite a long way. So, I was like number four, but there was nine, 11 and 12 and a half years difference. And it was, for me, being able to make some family members laugh or smile was a way of, I suppose, guaranteeing my place in the hierarchy.
"But, yes, as I say, my dad, I suppose, and I recounted one of the stories in the book is that he was a GP, and wherever possible, he would try and share something humorous, whether it was a little joke or something with a patient. Obviously not being disrespectful of people's condition, but he really, I suppose, modelled this notion of laughter is the best medicine along with medication."