Having a great sense of humor and laughing all of the time can’t cure all of our ailments, but data and scientific research is mounting about the positive things that laughter can do for us:
- Hormone regulation within your body: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones in your body. Stress hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol and dopamine. Laughter also increases the level of health-enhancing, feel good hormones, called endorphins. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells that we have working inside of us and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. T cells are lymphocyte immune cells that protect the body from pathogens and cancer cells. They are important for cell mediated immunity and the activation of immune cells to fight infection. This all equates to a stronger immune system, as well as helping to reduce some of the physical effects that stress has on your mind and body.
- Stimulates many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air and stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Your bodies internal workout: Although it may not be a daily experience; a good belly laugh exercises your diaphragm, contracts your abs, and even works out your shoulders. All of which helps your muscles to be more relaxed after the belly laugh. A belly laugh also provides a good workout for your heart. Have you ever noticed than when you laugh a lot, your hands unconsciously go to your chest? – it’s your heart working out and your hands supporting the body to open up and release anything energetically that’s no longer required!
- A physical release for your body: Can you recall a time that you were so stressed that if you didn’t laugh you’d cry? Do you remember feeling lighter after a good laugh or a time when you laughed so hard you cried! Laughter provides both a physical and emotional release. It’s a powerful and natural way to help let go of stress.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- A blessed distraction: By watching, reading or finding things to laugh at, you automatically move your focus away from the situation or event that is causing you stress and angst. Finding safe and healthy ways to lessen the intensity of any negative emotions that you are feeling is a great way to take responsibility for your state and how you are feeling. It’s a much better way to positively change your state than many other unhelpful coping patterns such as binge eating, excess drinking and the myriad of ways you can negatively distract yourself to numb out your feelings and pain.
- Know what isn’t funny. Not all laughter is the same! Please don’t laugh at another person’s expense. Some forms of humor simply aren’t appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad or hurtful one. What you energetically give out, you get back so please be kind and be mindful of what you are laughing at.
- Social benefits: Laughter connects us with others and laughter is contagious. Most people can’t help but respond positively to a smile, a random act of kindness or start laughing when they hear someone else have a good belly laugh. So, if you bring more laughter into your life, you will most likely help others around you to laugh more and realize the same health benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, helping to reduce your stress level even more!
- Perspective: Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view the event as a threat or a challenge. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as challenges, thereby making them less threatening and more positive. Working with a n experienced coach or mentor can help you change your perspective in as little as one or two private sessions.
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your mind and body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and reduce the potential for more-serious illnesses to occur.
By committing to exploring how you currently “do life” and investing in yourself to identify negative habits, beliefs and thoughts you can expertly rebuild more empowering beliefs, thoughts and habits that better support you to achieve the health, wellness and life that you deserve and desire.
What happens if I have a non-existent sense of humour?
Life can get really serious, really fast! It’s so easy to focus on everything that’s wrong and not working! As you evolve and grow its important to add humour into your routine to help lighten the mental and physical load, but if you struggle to laugh and are afraid that you have an underdeveloped or a nonexistent sense of humor, please don’t fret, humor can actually be learned.
In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.
- Google your way to happiness. The internet can be your friend or foe, use it as a force for good and find sites, you tubes and socials that make you laugh and smile. Bookmark them and go to them anytime you need to shift your emotional state from negative to positive.
- Create new habits. Find things that make you smile. It might be something as simple as a greeting card that you can frame and put on display, a comic or humorous book. Hunt out and save funny movies on Netflix that you can go to easily to relax at the end of the day. Every morning, find something to make you smile and laugh, buy a joke book and pick a page to read as you sip your morning tea or coffee
- Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situation and watch your stress begin to fade away. If you need to distract yourself, go to a comedy club or watch comedy on TV or online. Even if the laughter feels forced at first, practice laughing and it will get easier. You might even like to try laughter yoga. It may feel totally weird as you laugh with total strangers in a group but stick with it as can turn into real spontaneous laughter that helps soothe your soul
- Share a laugh with friends (not gossip & complaints). When you spend time with friends, make sure that it’s quality time. Ensure that your circle of friends lift you up and help you smile and laugh and that you do the same for them. Catch yourself anytime you begin to complain about life events or gossip about others as it takes your attention to your troubles, sinks your mood and kills the positive, uplifting energy that you and your friends want to feel while hanging out.
- Laughter is the best medicine Give this a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh. When your working, grab a pen or pencil and hold it between your teeth, it tricks your body into thinking it’s a smile and over time, smiling becomes easier and a natural state of being. Once you’ve had a little laugh, (even at how silly you feel) take stock of how you’re feeling. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or buoyant as that’s the natural wonder of smiling and laughing your way through life.