How to Lighten Up and Laugh to Reduce Stress
Is laughter really the best medicine? Many experts believe it is an effective tool in recovery.
Addiction is a serious disease with far-reaching health consequences. But what if there were an alternative to addictive behaviour that was healthy, fun, and not at all serious?
Laughter, it has been said, is the best medicine. And it turns out that this adage does have some support. While it may not technically be a medical remedy, there are far-ranging health benefits. Some of which are:
- Physical Health Benefits. These include lowered stress hormones, a boost to your immune system, decreased pain, muscular relaxation, and reduced risk of heart disease.
- Mental Health Benefits. These include stress relief, improved mood, enhanced resilience, reduced anxiety, and a greater sense of excitement about life.
- Social Benefits. Shared laughter increases social connection, eases conflict, promotes shared experience, and enhances cooperation.
If you have been feeling weighed down by the stress of life, it’s likely that you haven’t had a good belly laugh in some time. Oftentimes, when we are preoccupied with worries and concerns, it is difficult to find anything funny. For this reason, it can be useful to help the laughter come out with these simple tips:
- Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. When you smile, it engages similar muscles to those used for laughter. It also changes your mood, so you will be in a more positive frame of mind. This will help bring on the laughs!
- Gratitude. Focus on those things in life which you are genuinely grateful for. This will help lighten your mood, easing the way for pleasant humour. Of course, it can be difficult at first to find things which you are thankful for, but once you start, you will find more and more.
- Move toward laughter. If you hear someone laughing, move towards the source. Laughter is often most pleasurable when shared in a group, so joining in can be a good way to jump start your own peals of laughter.
- Funny friends. Surrounding yourself with funny, joyful, or lighthearted friends can help elevate your mood and put you in a good frame of mind. In turn, this will help you see the funny side of life.
- Laugh at yourself. It’s been said that the truly wise are able laugh at themselves. When we are able to find humour in our own follies and missteps, it shows a healthy distance from taking ourselves too seriously. So, try to find one thing that is funny about yourself, and have a small laugh.
- Laugh instead of complaining. There are many situations that are annoying. We can let these ruffle our feathers, or choose to find them funny and laugh it off. Doing the latter will invariably help you to move on and get back on track more effectively.