stay different. stay real.

Laughter – the Best Medicine

duck-group3Staying in an Accent Inn has always made me smile; the company’s sense of humour shows itself in lots of small ways, such as pens with messages such as “don’t forget to take me when you leave,” to rubber ducks in a variety of guises including a chef, a jazz dude duck, a biker and a cyclist, a lady duck in curlers, a skateboarder, a basketball player, a hockey player, a footballer, a pirate and even a snorkeler.

This is a company that knows how to have fun and help weary travelers smile as soon as they walk into their hotel room. Travel is stressful, but staying in a hotel shouldn’t be and Accent knows this better than any other hotel chain out there; perhaps that’s one of the reasons CEO Mandy Farmer was recently awarded the honour of being Canadian Hotelier of the Year.

My wife bought me Jack Knox’s hilarious book, Hard Knox, for Christmas. I was expecting a Ford 150 but what the heck, it gave me a laugh (actually I laughed till I cried … but the book was hilarious). Jack has a unique take on Canada and especially Vancouver Island – even more so on Victoria, home of Accent Inns head office and both an Accent Inns hotel and a Hotel Zed.

For instance, in his book Knox remembers what he wrote about Victoria’s reaction to snow in his Times Colonist column in 2005, “5:35pm – Environment Canada predicts two to five centimeters of snow will fall on Victoria within alaughter twenty-four-hour period. Weatherman Ed Bain reads the forecast on air, turns white, and faints.” And, “5:40pm – Victoria’s Mayor Alan Lowe issues immediate appeal for federal assistance. Prime Minister Paul martin promises to send in the army.”

Knox has an ability to make us laugh at ourselves in a way that is refreshing and heart-warming while at the same time being honest about our idiosyncrasies. Being able to laugh at oneself is healthy – quite often I look in the mirror first thing in the morning and laugh hysterically at what I see, but then I’ve got a lot to laugh at!

On a more serious note, research has shown that there are many health benefit to laughing; it has been seen to reduce stress and anxiety, and help with depression. Google ‘laughter health benefits’ and you will find dozens of other ways it helps us keep healthy.

Laughter releases endorphins that make you feel good, a little like exercise. I suppose laughing while at the gym on a treadmill, while lifting weights, might be incredibly good for you; it would certainly make your fellow gym-rats laugh. When you are laughing, you are very much in the moment and that’s good; while you are laughing you can’t be worrying, or stressing about the past or the future.

We can all too easily take the world and ourselves too seriously; we only have to watch the news to see the sadder side of life and let it affect our day-to-day happiness if we let it.

sock-signSo, what makes me laugh other than looking at myself in a mirror? My Australian Shepherd, Finnegan, for a start – he’s hilarious every day. Pets are one of the best ways to ensure you have a laughter in your life, just check out all those cat videos on YouTube. And, every time I drive by the multi-coloured Westfalia van at Hotel Zed in Victoria, or put out the ‘clean my room’ sign on my door at an Accent Inns hotel that reads, ‘Call me if you find my sock – you might have better luck’ it brings a smile to my face.

One of the reasons I’m such a fan of the folks at Accent Inns is that I like dealing with family-run businesses that have a sense of humour and Accent Inns always puts the accent (LOL) on humour which not only makes me feel good, it makes me healthier too!

Mike Wicks