Updated: Aug 16, 2019
Even if you don’t feel like having a laugh right now, studies show that even faking it by pretending to laugh has a positive effect on your health and stress levels, even pain – and I’m not even joking…
Our emotions and our physical health are intrinsically linked. Nurturing the positive emotions will have a beneficial effect for emotional resilience and with all this stress buzzing around, that has to be a benefit and it is, right down to our cells AND it’s free.
The Hormones Are at It Again – if you have read any of my other blogs, you’ll have read now stress raids your hormones until, in the worst case, it makes you really ill. Laughter, on the other hand, reduces the level of hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline (epinephrine) and increases endorphins which boost your mood and your health and have been cited as helping your immune system by increasing the number of anti-body producing cells.
Distraction – you know how when a child is crying you try to distract them and make them laugh…it’s the same for us (we haven’t grown up that much). Laughter changes our mood and focus, even if you really are in a low state, you can use laughter, even if you don’t feel like it as the physiology of laughter as it changes to the state in your body, changes your mental state too. Mind and body are forever linked.
Changing Your Perspective When Stressed – there is a reason why black humour exists…it breaks us out of the channelled perspective we find ourselves in when we’re stressed.
Security & Closeness with Others – laughter is infectious, if there are people around us, they can’t help but laugh too (even when they don’t want to). It brings us closer to people around us and gives us shared experience which both reduce stress for humans who evolved in tribes; no-one wants to feel alone, that can be stressful. It can relieve stress levels as a group as well, not to mention, when you feel close to others, the hormone oxytocin is activated giving more warm and fluffy moments, counteracting the feelings of stress.
A Physical Release from Stress – laughter gives you an alternative release from stress than anger or tears plus it gets more oxygen into your body. That physical release is important as pent up emotion leaves the body.
It Makes You Sexier – not only are laughing people attractive a really good laugh exercises your body, you’ll get a little work out when you least expect it and releases tension from your muscles and is cheaper than a massage!
Get Some Laughs in Today
Finding Humour at Work – take a break, have a chat, crack a few jokes, you could even start or end the day with a laughter workout!
Get Out and About with Friends – your friends are bound to make you laugh and the social environment is good for your oxytocin levels. Arrange to do something different, it doesn’t have to be a comedy club but could be something new where you all laugh as you try it, like a cookery class (only funny if you’re bad at cooking!).
Always Look on the Bright Side – Just like in Monty Python, there’s often a brighter side and frankly even if life feels like it’s ‘a piece of s***t when you look at it” (blame Python for that line), life is generally better when you look for the brighter or funnier side, and it is generally less stressful.
Laughter Yoga – lots of towns now have laughter yoga classes. You simply go in a room, sit down and laugh together and it’s amazing how it makes you feel, releasing tensions that may have been overwhelming you during the day! It really is about how the mind and body are connected. If you act like you’re happy and there is something funny, your body will end up feeling it and vice-versa. Check out one near you!
Let Laughter be Served - Let the expert comedians and actors entertain you. At home and feeling stressed and low? Put on your favourite comedy and allow it to lift your mood. I guarantee you’ll feel very different afterwards.
Looking for a complete approach to overwhelm, anxiety and stress, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and watch out for my new book on stress coming out in January 2019!