By Michelle Wynn -
Have you really laughed recently? If not then I suggest you do just as soon as you have read this article!
Spontaneous laughter is catching, no matter how bad a day you may be having, joining in is sure to lift your spirits. The use of humour helps us to create a sense of greater control over our day to day lives. Making use of humour and laughter in the face of life’s challenges can increase our ability to adapt and recover from difficulties. It helps to build resilience.
We all know how being around people who make us laugh brings an energy to the encounter, it injects optimism and relief, and brightens our day. Some people deliberately use laughter as a fun way to manage their problems, believing in the old saying that “Laughter is the best medicine.” Lord Byron was a keen believer in the links between laughter and well being. He was known to often tell his friends: “Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine!”
Many readers would also agree with both of these statements, they have personally experienced the power of humour in difficult circumstances. Some even believe that laughter can ease physical and emotional pain and promote physical healing. Some experiments have indicated that laughter is in fact an ‘effective therapy in some cases. It has been shown to reduce stress, relieve pain and boost the immune response. Harvey 1998. Although experimental research is in it’s early stages, the findings are encouraging! Informal studies show that humour and laughter stimulate circulation, enhance well being, exercise facial and stomach muscles, produce ‘feel good’ endorphins, a powerful release of chemicals in the brain, and also increase oxygen to the brain!
Can you remember a time when you have been caught in contagious laughter? How did it feel? Most people report that they found it very difficult not to laugh even in what might appear to be an inappropriate situation! Have you ever been at the dentist (or any other formal situation) when you have suddenly been overtaken by a desire to laugh, and the more you try not to, the more it takes over!
What about in situations when you have shared a joke with someone and afterward have found yourself giggling, trying to stop yourself. Sometimes just looking at the person you shared the joke with triggerslaughter all over again long after the event. Try to remember an example of when laughter took you outside of yourself and your own concerns at the time. How did it help you?
Humour and laughter are completely free, and yet powerful tools in the promotion of well being. They can be taken with you anywhere, any time! Humour and laughter give you that bounce back factor, they restore hope and inspire joy! Even in the most difficult of times I have seen people reveal their ability to keep going, and support each other in the use of humour and laughter.
By nourishing this aspect of ourselves we remain fully authentic, in touch with the best in ourselves, and connected to others in sharing the gift of laughter. These are crucial elements in overall quality of life! With laughter we honour our emotional, physical and spiritual needs, and pay attention to the importance of our ‘self-talk’ in managing our emotions, as life ebbs and flows around us. This is what gives us that all important sense of emotional balance. Next time you laugh, remember, you are really taking care of yourself and others.
By Michelle Wynn, psychologist, Psychotherapist and Life Success Coach has extensive experience in helping others overcome problems and achieve success.
Her website http://www.wellnesswayfinderinstitute.com is dedicated to helping people access self-help coaching articles and life-enhancing and products.