Think of the last time you really laughed. Not a “hahaha” laugh, but an uncontrollable, belly hurts, almost crying laugh that takes you to the floor.
How long ago?
Have you ever seen the commercial on T.V. with the people laughing uncontrollably? It got me thinking, you really don’t see people laughing like you use to. What happen? Did we all start taking life to seriously? Dr. Fry at Stanford proved that the average child laughs about 400 times a day. The average adult about 15 times a day. To many people acknowledge the fact that whether their predominant mood is happy, sad or angry that they DO NOT laugh enough. So what is holding you back? Are you jealous of those laughing and respond with attitude verse laughing with them? Are you being defensive and trying to prove a point? Are you allowing life’s burdens overwhelmed you that you can’t find room to laugh? What is it?
When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. A sense of community and connection uplifts people’s energy, mood, sense of well being and decreases appetite. Laughter also triggers healthy physiological changes in the body. It strengthen your immune system, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. And guess what, this medicine is not only the most powerful medicine, but it is free!
Authors Melinda Smith, M.A., Gina Kemp, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. really break laughing down the best. Read on and hear what Smith, Kemp and Segal have to say. And I’ve added in some of my own clinical observations as well…
How laughter positively effects your physical health
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after (1).
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease (1).
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain (1).
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems (1).
|The Benefits of Laughter|
|Physical Health Benefits:
||Mental Health Benefits:
Wanting to Feel More Mentally and Emotionally Balanced- Laugh!
Laughing makes you feel good. Do you ever recall a time that laughing made you feel worse? Studies show that the chemicals released after a bout of laughter remain in your body even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. Laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better.
The link between laughter and mental health
- Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Social and Romantic aspects of laughter
I took a seminar about 10 years ago and one of the quotes that stuck with me was “you can learn more about a person in an hour of play then a lifetime of conversation.” Truth is, we can talk all day long about who we are (or want to be). Create visages, hide behind our self-created stories, talk about the things we want to do or did in the past, but who you really are is who you are today in action! And people learn more about you in play – how you respond to others and situations, how you interact with others and how you view yourself- than in conversation.
Incorporating more humor and play into your daily interactions can improve the quality of your love relationships— as well as your connections with co-workers, family members, and friends. Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to:
- Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
- Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
- Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
- Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.
Need to bring more humor into your life?
- Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. With an open heart and a non-judgmental disposition, observe yourself, the people around you and life’s little tricks and start laughing at them. Smile at grace and beauty. Smile at the differences that make this world go round, then laugh with the humor that pops up for you.
- Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter (1).
- Seek it out! Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. When you hear laughter, move toward it. You can also create your own laughter- think like a kid! Rent funny movies, by a book of jokes, play with a pet, play with a kid, make a laughing journal of all your funniest experiences and reflect on them during a sad day. Who knows maybe it will inspire you to create more laughter!
- Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
- Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”
For those of you who may not have a sense of humor… I’m out of stock, but you can always check my online store or follow these simple tools below!
Tips for Getting a sense of humor
- Laugh at yourself. For heavens sake- when you drop the groceries, spill the milk or do something terribly embarrassing. Just laugh. Chances are you are moving to fast or the universe (God, whomever), is giving you a chance to stop and laugh. SO take it! Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took yourself too seriously.
- Attempt to laugh at situations rather than find the sorrow and negativity them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
- Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun. Listen to a comedian for 5 minutes before work. ANYTHING…
- Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical.
- Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
- Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.
Always ask yourself
– What’s the worst that can happen?
– What is the purpose behind me not laughing/getting involved?
– Is it really worth being upset over?
– Is it hurting anyone?
– Is it that important?
– Is the situation really my problem?
Now go play…
Inspired by the T.V. commercial where everyone is laughing. Research data from site and authors below.
(1) Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Gina Kemp, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: September 2012; http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm.