Updated: Oct 2, 2022
Our bodies are amazing complex systems, that are always seeking balance. We have natural mechanisms that allow for release . Things we do spontaneously to assist the body in it's quest for balance. Some examples are, crying, laughing, coughing and sneezing. These things we do spontaneously that assist our bodies with release of built up energy, toxins or irritants.
Out of this list let's look at laughter. I believe we all know we feel better when we laugh. Have you ever been in a really stressful situation and then something funny happens and then spontaneous laughter breaks out. When this happens it brings us fully into the moment. We are mindful. Some physiological things happen in the body through this spontaneous act. Our muscles and diaphragm relax, endorphins are released ( this is one of the bodies feel good chemicals). Laughter over long term can help us with our interpersonal relationships. It helps to get us out of our personal triggers and see things from a broader perspective. It helps us feel more connected. We communicate better from this state. It helps the body get out of the stress response. This will help our bodies immune function.
Humor can be subjective . I remember when I was a teenager I was over a friends house watching Ace Ventura Pet Detective with Jim Carrey. I know I am dating myself with the reference and some of you might not know the movie. Suffice it to say it was classic Jim Carrey. I remember my friends brother and his girlfriend were watching it with us, they were falling on the floor laughing and my friend and me kept looking at each other, like we didn't get the joke. It just seemed silly. I could laugh now thinking of my serious younger self. I realize now I had trouble letting go, not analyzing or judging . We all don't have to find humor in the same places, but I believe we all need to try and see the lighter side of life. The seed of laughter rests within all of us. This gift the universe gave us for finding balance. If we choose to allow it. I think we should allow ourselves to laugh sometimes.
During Covid lock down I found myself watching an old Robin Williams movie and I was laughing out loud. It surprised me because it was a silly humor. I realized something in me shifted from my teenage self. I am thankful for all those who broke through my armor and made me laugh. Those who taught me life has a lighter side. Yes we must and should be serious at times, but we also need to balance it with laughter, and relaxation. Emotions are energy. We all know how different anger, sadness, fear and grief feel from love, gratitude and peace. Laughter allows us a healthy release of our more intense emotional energy.
I know the past couple of years have been difficult for most a lot of us. You might be saying " What is there to laugh about?" I remember reading Mans Search For Meaning by ViKtor E. Frankl ( a holocaust survivor) and he spoke of some of the prisoners using humor at different points to allow for a release from the intensity of the situation. I believe in sharing this information with us, he gives us permission, in a sense, to find humor in any situation.
When we laugh we assist our bodies with transitioning to our parasympathetic nervous system. This is where immune function happens and we make better decisions from this place. So what I propose is adding more laughter to your life. Read books you find funny, read cartoons, watch movies you find funny and hang around people that make you laugh.
Thich Nat Hahn talks about in Miracle of Mindfulness when we feel triggered to curl up the sides of our lips. In other words smile. This I learned after reading another book helps to release serotonin ( one of the bodies feel good chemicals) into the body. The body gets the cue from the muscles in our face, we are happy and releases the corresponding chemicals. I tried this one day myself, when something triggered me. It felt ridiculous to try smiling when I felt anger inside and it made me laugh. I was defying the way my body expresses anger and in doing so defused it some.
I hope I have made the point laughter is truly a gift. It is a free medicine we could take during challenging times, to help us through. My humble suggestion is we all bring more of it into our lives. Anyone know a good joke?
If you are local and really having difficulty finding your bodies relaxation response, you are welcome to come in for a Reiki or Reflexology treatment. These treatments help to assist the body with finding the relaxation response and balancing energy. #wellness,#Mindfulness#,#wellness,#Mindfulness,#healthyliving,#laughter#health#stressreduction
If you would like to know more tips about mindfulness, I invite you do my online workshop on Cultivating Mindfulness.