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Laugh the Stress Away

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

It’s almost April 15 and we can all feel the financial stress of this month. One of the greatest, most simple, and fun stress reducers is laughter.

Laughing truly is the best medicine, especially when it comes to stress. Laughter distracts us from negative events and emotions that cause us to stress. Being positive in good humor also gives us perspective, allowing us to look beyond our current troubles and focus on more mindful things in life. But the benefits don’t stop at the emotional aspects. There are physical benefits too.

Laughter is linked to our brains and as we laugh our brain release endorphins, also known as “natural painkillers.” In fact, even the anticipation of laughter has been proven to reduce the “stress hormone,” cortisol, by 39 percent. And that’s not all. A good chuckle can boost your immune system (keeping you from getting sick) and even relax your muscles for up to 45 minutes afterward.

Schedule a Laugh Moment

Every day schedule a little downtime for your self. Spend five minutes watching a funny YouTube clip or watch an episode of your favorite comedy show.  Read the comics online or in your local newspaper, funny pages, or listen to a comedy album excerpt. You’ll get to laugh chuckle and distract yourself from a stressful business meeting or hectic traffic.

Laugh with Others

Don’t laugh alone; consider sharing the infectious energy of a good laugh. good times. Chat with a friend that always makes you laugh or consider having a night out on the town together. Try planning entertaining activities with the family like board game night or fun outdoor activities like hide-and-seek, shooting hoops, badminton or touch football. The more laughs you share, the less stressed you’ll feel.

Stay Positive

To keep these laughter health benefits flourishing in your life it’s important to maintain a  stay positive attitude about life. For instance, when you find yourself stressed or in a bad moment repeat a positive affirmation again and again.  try to look for the good in the situation. Release your inhibitions and learn to laugh at yourself and the many things you have to deal with in life.  don’t be afraid  Remember your own mistakes usually become teaching moments so don’t take them too seriously. We were created to laugh out loud.  Consider laughing a spiritual practice and one that will bring you joy, health, and love. By finding humor in your everyday life you’ll be able to keep stress at bay.

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