Laughter is a potent remedy for stress and worry.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering if you can cope, a good laugh helps restore your balance.
It grounds you, lightens the load and helps you relax, so things don’t seem so bad.
What’s the Big Deal?
Laughter is believed to suppress the release of stress hormones in your body and trigger the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals, which promote a sense of wellbeing. At the same time, it also relieves physical tension and helps your muscles relax.
According to Robert Provine Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Maryland, laughter also has the ability to dull pain. Numerous studies have shown that people in pain have found that when they have a good laugh, their pain doesn’t give them so much trouble.
Emotionally, a good laugh can ease fear and anxiety, improve your mood and add a joie de vivre to everyday life. It replaces negative emotions with a relaxed feeling that lasts even after the laughter has subsided. And it helps you switch to a more optimistic, upbeat outlook even when you’re dealing with disappointments and difficult situations.
Last but by no means least, laughter has great social benefits. When laughter is shared, it creates a bond between people and can be an effective way of breaking down barriers in relationships, whether with members of your family, friends or colleagues. A little humor, if used wisely, can also be a very useful way of defusing conflict situations.
So, laughter is a very powerful tool in your stress relief armory.
Bringing More Laughter Into Your Life
Look for opportunities to have a laugh in your everyday life.
If you’re at home, watch a comedy show, read the funny pages, get absorbed in a hilarious book, keep amusing toys around or just do something ridiculous.
Look for opportunities to have fun with your family and friends. You might want to host a games night or go bowling. Bring humor into your conversations by sharing a joke or funny story.
Best of all, spend time with children, because they’re experts at make-believe and having a good time.
Seek out funny people. Go to a comedy club or join a laughter yoga club.
And at work, choose a screen saver that makes you laugh, frame photos of you and your family having fun or put up a funny poster.
Whatever triggers your sense of humor and encourages you to laugh, go looking for it; don’t hold back, because when it comes to stress relief, you can’t get enough laughter.
Charles Schaefer Psychology Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, found that a good laugh – or even just a smile – can go a long way towards making you feel better. What’s even more interesting, is that his studies have shown that even if people don’t really feel like laughing, if they fake it, it still boosts their spirits. So, if you’re feeling stressed out, just force yourself to laugh, because it will help break the tension.
When you’re faced with a difficult situation, try to see the funny side of it all. Look for the humor in what’s going on and expose the absurdity of life. If you can do this, it will help improve your mood, and that of those around you.
And finally, don’t take yourself too seriously! None of us gets it right all the time. We all do silly things quite unintentionally. So, if you do something daft, laugh about it and even share it with other people; don’t try to deny that it ever happened.
The more you can lighten up and bring laughter into your life, the easier it will be to release a lot of the stress you’re feeling.