It makes our cheeks flush, our jaw ache and sometimes our undergarments wet!?!…but ever considered laughter as an antidote for stress, panic or pain?
There’s good reason why laughter has been said to be the best medicine, but why should we start to take it seriously?
Laughter is a natural stress reliever
When we get stressed our body releases a whole array of chemicals including adrenaline and cortisol. Laughter has been proven to lower levels of these stress related hormones in the blood, helping to instantly relax the body.
Laughter reduces pain
When we laugh our body releases beta endorphins, these are natural opioids that reduce our perception of pain. This helps to increase our pain threshold and manage our experience of discomfort. Here’s a link to a short documentary that shows how Jon has managed his chronic pain with laughter.
Laughter is like mindfulness in motion
When we’re laughing we can’t be catastrophising about the future and we can’t be thinking about the past, all we can do is focus on the physical act of laughing. That’s why laughter can have the same effects as meditating, it helps us to stay present and experience the here and now.
Laughter improves our relationships
Laughter is a language we all understand, it’s the ultimate social glue, instantly connecting us regardless of language, age, sex or ability. It’s a non-verbal method of saying ‘I like and trust you’ and helps us to create our strongest bonds with loved ones.
Laughter helps shift our perspective
If we can learn to laugh when we are faced with difficult situations that are beyond our control, then we can learn to be more emotionally resilient when faced with bigger challenges. Laughter automatically shifts our perspective, helping us to see the bigger picture and not ‘sweat the small stuff’!