LAUGH

It may feel hard to laugh in these unpredictable times, but I can guarantee it will make you feel better if you do. I see laughter as our body’s inbuilt resilience, something we can access if we know how too. I know laughter isn’t going to cure everything, but it certainly will ease some of the stress you may be experiencing.

Theory

Laughter has a multitude of health benefits. There is research to suggest that laughter can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and increase your pain threshold. Yet what I find fascinating about laughter is its ability to make us feel instantly better, to bring us closer together and make us feel connected to something bigger.

Laughter is a natural stress reliever; it helps to cathartically release suppressed or blocked emotions. It also gives us instant access to the present moment; because when you’re laughing you can’t be thinking about the past or catastrophizing about the future you are fully present.

I had a video chat with two of my best friends the other day, we talked about the C word and then went on to investigate the variety of ways facebook could transform our faces. At one point my face merged with a foot and then a thumb (pictures below) and my god did we laugh!

Exercises

  • Smile – It really is that simple, smile in the shower, smile when you’re doing the washing up, smile, smile, smile! It lifts your mood, it relaxes the muscles around your eyes, and it gives you a kick of serotonin which makes you feel ace!
  • Try a laughter workout, this one by Robert Rivest is ridiculously silly in all the best ways and if you’re anything like me you’ll find it hard not to join in!
  • Surprise your colleagues with fancy dress. This idea came from an attendee of my Harnessing you Playful Presence day. Her job requires regular skype meetings and to make her colleagues laugh she decided to choose a new fancy dress costume for each day! One day she’d drawn a moustache on her face, the next she wore a big silly hat! Be playful! The world has gotten very serious, but there’s always room for a bit of mischief!
  • Play with and exaggerate your emotions, this might sound weird but it works. If you’re feeling angry, bored, frustrated, times that emotion by 10 and really play it out, exaggerating it until it feels ridiculous. You’ll find yourself laughing in no time!
  • Check out Laughter Yoga online, there are plenty of videos on youtube and practitioners offering laughter skype calls and all sorts. It’s silly but it will make you feel good, so what is there to lose?!

Books

Laughter therapy by Annette Goodheart – How to laugh at everything in life that isn’t really that funny!

Laugh; Everyday Laughter Healing for Greater Happiness and Wellbeing by Lisa Sturge – a simple colourful book with lots of ideas and information about all things laughter.

The Happy Brain by Dean Burnett – Exploring the neuroscience of positive emotions.

fun