Have you ever been in a tense or difficult situation when you suddenly burst into a fit of giggles? Or feel a release or rejuvenated after watching a side-splittingly funny movie?
It turns out there’s some scientific veracity behind the old adage “laughter is the best medicine.”
“Laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response. It’s like internal jogging, providing a good massage to all internal organs while also toning abdominal muscles,” says Dr. Gulshan Sethi, head of cardiothoracic surgery at the Tucson Medical Center and faculty at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
Perhaps that’s why Deepak Chopra says the healthiest response to life is laughter.
Studies have found that laughter can have healing properties; and it’s contagious. Here are six reasons why you should start laughing today.
Laughter is Contagious
The discovery of mirror neurons—what causes you to smile when someone smiles at you—gives credence to the belief that laughter is contagious.
When you’re feeling down finding friends to laugh with can help your brain trigger its own laughter response and foster closeness, both of which contribute to your sense of well-being. Why do you think that sense of humor is such an important trait when looking for a partner? We like the feeling of shared laughter and our body wants as much of this feeling as possible.
Laughter Reduces the Stress Response
When you laugh there’s a contraction of muscles, which increases blood flow and oxygenation. This stimulates the heart and lungs and triggers the release of endorphins that help you to feel more relaxed both physically and emotionally.
Laughter Boosts Immunity
According to one study done at Indiana State School of nursing, mirthful laughter may increase natural killer cell levels, a type of white blood cell that attacks cancer cells.
Laughter Increases Resilience
Resilience is the ability to see failure as natural progression to success rather than as a negative outcome. People who are resilient are happier and more successful.
The ability to acknowledge mistakes without becoming angry or frustrated plays an important role in developing resilience. Laughing at mistakes allows us to recognize that making errors is a part of being human.
Laughter Combats Depression
Studies support laughter as a great way to get outside the downward spiral to depression. Being unhappy can become a pattern or mindset if we don’t step outside of ourselves occasionally. By being a witness to our situation rather than allowing ourselves to feel the victim we can find the humor in it and see with fresh eyes. Even forced laughter releases a cocktail of hormones, neuropeptides, and dopamine that can start to improve your mood.
Laughter Relieves Pain
People who are laughing don’t experience less pain, however they report being less bothered by the pain they do experience. It’s not about changing pain levels. The amount of pain remains the same, but your perceived pain levels reduce and your belief that you can cope increases. Laughter by itself isn’t the solution but it can help a person overcome discomfort.
Quick Hacks to Bring More Laughter Into Your Life
- Make humour a priority by reading a funny book, watching a comedy, or listening to your favourite comedian.
- Share laughter with friends. Spend more time with people who have fun.
- Practice laughter yoga, which Dr. Sethi practices and teaches on occasion.
- Remember that life is funny. The ability to laugh at yourself makes you attractive to others and can help relieve your own stress. Focus on finding the laughable moments in your day, and then tell a friend your funny story as a way to increase the power of laughter by sharing.
- Know what isn’t funny. Laughing at the expense of others isn’t funny. Be discerning about your humor by laughing with—not at—people.
All of us are born with a blank page that over our childhood years gets filled with scrips that we have no control over. As children we have no control over our upbringing, our surroundings and environments, essentially we have someone else write our first chapters in our of our stories.
We go through life one chapter at a time thinking that there is no other way to change what was. We willingly give permission to others to write our story for us. We continue on this path that was paved for us by our parents, people who influence us early on in life and we see no other paths that we could take. We see it as the only way to go through life.
As a child I have always loved fairytales because they somehow represented what I and I’m sure all of us wish for and that is; to be in charge of the ideas and stories, to be in charge of our own fairytale.
Unfortunately, some of us if not most of us were told to stop dreaming, we were told that these are just fairytales, that they are not real and to grow up and do what we were told or taught to do and, maybe we will have a somewhat of a happy life…if we’re lucky enough.
We go through life not always aware the we have the power to stop and consciously look at the road ahead and choose our own path to where ever that may lead us.
We do have a choice to change our story and we can achieve anything we want, even against all odds. When we consciously take back the control we gain the ability to decide how our story will be written. We Reclaim Our Life!
We are the authors of our own "Story Books" and we cannot let anyone take that away from us again.
So… stop! Look at the road ahead and ask yourself, which path do you choose? Take back the “pen” and start writing your next chapter the way YOU want to write it!!!
We have been faced with so much uncertainty these days.
People have so much on their minds and fear just keeps taking over their entire existence... whether it’s fear of getting sick, fear of loosing someone you love, fear of loosing your job, fear of loosing your home, whatever it is, it’s all valid!
And yes we do have to take appropriate precautions but we also have a choice to change our mindset.
I have been learning to move from a fear-based experience to feeling a more open and peaceful one.
I‘m learning to first take full responsibility and accountability that on some level I created the experience or feeling, and nobody else is to blame and now I choose to acknowledge, accept it and release it!
The choice is truly ours. Do we choose to experience a fearful, limited life or do we choose a happy joyful life?
It’s not easy and it takes practice but it is possible.
Fear is a human emotion that is triggered by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that signals our bodies to respond to danger with a fight or flight response or freeze. As such, it is an essential part of keeping us safe.
However, when people live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, they can become incapacitated.
Fear prepares us to react to danger.
But living under constant threat has serious health consequences.
* Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and bowel problems. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
* Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
* Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
* Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD. Alongside stress, which in turn results in all of the above.
So whether threats to our security are real or perceived, they impact our mental and physical wellbeing.
So my suggestions to you is turn off the news and choose a happy and joyful activity and choose to change your mindset.
Have an amazing Monday!!!