Laughter: Sweet Therapy for Stress
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
A good sense of humor can be a powerful resource in stressful times and life, as we know, comes with its share of those. Laughter can completely transform a situation because we can’t help but feel good when we’re laughing.
When I was in university, living away from home for the first time, my best friend was attending a university across town. Once a week we would get on the phone and laugh-to-tears over all the mishaps and troubles we’d endured over the past seven days. Sweet therapy! She was known for saying: “Cheer up – things could be worse. And sure enough, I cheered up and things got worse.”
Laughter: therapy for stress? Yes! Studies show that even anticipating a humorous experience can reduce stress hormones. Other studies report laughter will relax your whole body, boost your immune system and trigger the release of endorphins [feel good hormones]. This article says laughter is “one of the most healing activities in which you can engage.”
Why do we love sit coms so much; ones like Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory or classics like Friends or Seinfeld? My theory is that they give us a fix, albeit vicariously, of two things we badly need in life; community and laughter. Watching people we’ve come to know laugh their way though all sorts of trouble helps us to believe everything [in our lives too] really will be alright.
We need a regular dose of laughter. How do we fit that into a very busy life? Here are some ideas:
- Watch a sit com – you can watch them online, therefore: any time you need one!
- Play with a child – children remind us how to laugh.
- Call a friend – the one you laugh with a lot.
- Get on YouTube and search for funny people like Karyn Buxman for instance, (thanks for this Bill!) who will make you laugh at your work and at yourself.
How do you keep your sense of humour when things are crazy in your life? What strikes you funny? What’s your all-time favourite (wholesome) joke? What sit coms make you laugh out loud even though no one else is in the room?
photo credit: Eric Ward