You humans need to lighten up. Sure, life poses many serious challenges, but you awfulize way too much. Find the humor in daily life. Take it from me, Ron Tickles, there is no better comedy than watching humans and their pets right at home. Besides being great fun, laughter ranks as one of the best remedies for easing stress.
Every day presents new occasions for giggles, snorts and snickers. You just have to look for them. Like many dogs, I live with a family – Mom, Dad, Junior, two cats and a hamster. Here are just a few examples of the comical things they do in their daily lives.
It’s obligatory that Junior sneaks his serving of kale (or broccoli or green beans or spinach) under the dinner table for me to eat. I don’t mind; I eat just about anything. However, I chuckle when Dad also slips his serving of kale under the table — to avoid an argument with Mom. Even funnier is when Mom secretly scrapes the remaining kale on her plate into the garbage disposal before she retreats into the pantry for a bite of dark chocolate.
Every New Year’s rings in a new exercise machine. For the first three weeks of the year, Mom, Dad and Junior huff and puff on the latest version of their pet hamster’s wheel. Although it’s a hoot to watch the hamster exert so much effort to go nowhere, it’s even more amusing to watch the humans go nowhere even faster. Predictably, after a few months, the new exercise machine joins the retired treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bicycles lined up in the basement corner near the washer. At least those exercise machines make great clothes hangers.
Never willing to let sleeping cats lie, I tickle the younger male kitten on his tummy. This triggers a chain of reactions just like the old game of Mouse Trap™. First the kitten arches his back after awakening abruptly. Then he paws the older female cat who hisses in return. Soon they chase around the house in a fury. During their hot pursuit, they knock down the hamster cage, unlatching its door. Seeing his chance to get off that silly wheel, the hamster scurries out to roam the house. When Mom arrives home, she screams because she thinks the hamster is a mouse. Dad looks for a mouse trap until Junior notices the hamster cage door is ajar. Then the whole family chases through the house to capture the hamster, who wants nothing to do with that ridiculous hamster wheel. Not even a stand-up comedian could write better material.
How you View it
You can look at most life situations as the dog dish half empty or half amusing. Mental-health professionals love to complicate this basic fact with theories like CBT, DBT, and ACT, when all you need is a little FUN. Next time you feel stressed, depressed or crossed, try to glean some humor in the situation. If you find this difficult, watch a funny YouTube video. Then study the situation again. You may often find that the situation isn’t so bad, and you might even figure out a few solutions, which of course will help in easing stress.
Psychologist and “Cheerman of the Bored,” Steve Wilson, founded the World Laughter Tour, an organization devoted to promoting physical and mental health by living more positively. On its website you can search for local Certified Laughter Leaders who lead individual or group laughter sessions, a great complement to traditional psychotherapy. If you really want to humor others, you can seek training to become a Certified Laughter Leader yourself.
So here are my tips for easing stress.
- Lighten up. Find the humor in every day life.
- Unless you truly like it, ditch the kale, and opt for other nutritious foods like dark chocolate.
- Get off those silly hamster-wheel exercise machines and visit a dog park. Not only will you get great exercise, you will have great fun watching the dogs in those ridiculous collars that their owners make them wear.
- Most importantly, stir up a little trouble now and then.
Ruff . . . there scampers a real mouse. Time to rouse the cats.
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise (1).
There are a few reasons behind this:
- Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
- Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
- Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
- Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.
Activities — such as walking or jogging — that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
Regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.
Several supplements promote stress and anxiety reduction. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:
- Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects ( 2 ).
- Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms ( 3 ).
- Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it’s effective ( 4 ).
- Green tea: Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits. It may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels ( 5 ).
- Valerian: Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety.
- Kava kava: Kava kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family. Long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat mild stress and anxiety ( 6 ).
Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.
Certain supplements can reduce stress and anxiety, including ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and lemon balm.
Stress can creep up on us in different ways. Students pursuing graduate degrees in health sciences especially have to deal with a lot of stress balancing rigorous classes, work and their personal lives. While stress is a normal part of life, we want to mitigate it where we can so that we keep a healthy mindset.
Laughter is a natural medicine that can improve your mood, strengthen your immune system and even combat stress. From the stress of finals to anxiety from work, we all could use a little more laughter in our lives. Below are research-backed ways laughter can help relieve stress, plus an infographic with ten creative ways to add more laughter into your life.
Scientifically Proven Ways Laughter Can Relieve Stress
The health benefits of laughter cited by researchers are plenty. From boosting your immune system to increasing endorphins to your brain, below are scientifically proven ways a giggle can help you combat stress and increase your physical and mental health.
Physical health benefits
- Stimulates your organs: When you laugh, you take in more oxygen-rich air. This stimulates your lungs, heart and muscles.
- Relaxes your muscles: When you get stressed, your body tenses up and can cause you to feel stuck. A good laugh can relieve physical tension in the body and relax the muscles for up to 45 minutes.
- Improves cardiac health: Laughing increases your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood. This can improve vascular function and decrease the risk of heart attacks.
- Boosts immune system: When you’re stressed, negative thoughts can turn into chemical reactions that decrease your immunity to sickness. When you laugh, you adopt a positive mindset that can release infection-fighting antibodies and neuropeptides that help fight stress.
- Lowers blood pressure: Laughter releases endorphins that counteract the negative effects of stress hormones—lowering your blood pressure as a result.
- Helps with weight loss: A common side effect of chronic stress is weight gain. Laughing not only reduces the stress hormones that cause weight gain, but it also burns calories.
Mental health benefits
- Provides distraction: When you laugh, you aren’t thinking about that assignment that is overdue or the big final you have coming up next week. Laughter provides your brain with a break from the worrying thoughts that cause stress.
- Improves your mood: Nothing squashes a bad mood quite like a good laugh. Laughing produces a general sense of well-being and can diffuse the anger and depression you were once feeling.
- Reduces stress hormones: Cortisol is our primary stress hormone that circulates throughout the body when you’re feeling stressed. Laughter can decrease cortisol levels by increasing your intake of oxygen and stimulating circulation throughout the body.
- Increases endorphins: Endorphins are those “feel-good” chemicals produced by your brain that help boost happiness levels. Laughing increases the number of endorphins released in your body, fighting off stress and promoting a positive mood.
- Strengthens relationships: A shared laugh with friends, family or a coworker can help you feel more connected to that person and form a strong and lasting bond. Humor is also a powerful way to heal past disagreements or resentments.
10 Ways to Add More Laughter to Your Life
With all the seriousness that school and work bring, we tend to forget how important it is to make time for laughter. From hosting a game night to trying out a new hobby like laughter yoga, below are ten ways to promote laughter in your life.
- Follow a funny meme account: There’s a reason funny memes go viral. They make people laugh! Follow some funny meme accounts to put a smile on your face every time you hop on social media.
- Create a Pinterest board: Start a Pinterest board full of things that make you laugh, like quotes or hilarious pictures. Next time you find something on the internet that makes you smile, pin it to your board so you can look at it next time you’re feeling stressed.
- Spend time with pets: Pets, such as dogs and cats, are a source of laughter and joy for many people. If you don’t have a pet, consider asking a friend to pet-sit theirs or volunteer at an animal shelter in your free time.
- Listen to a funny podcast: On your way to work or school, listen to a funny podcast to start your day off with a laugh.
- Try laughter yoga: Laughter yoga is a new take on yoga that encourages prolonged voluntary laughter. Try out a class by yourself or take it with a friend next time you’re feeling stressed.
- Laugh at yourself: Learning to laugh at yourself is one of the best ways you can add more laughter into your life. Next time you do something that would otherwise upset you, try to find the positive in the situation.
- Alter your environment: Your environment can play a huge part in your mood. Reshape your work or study area to include things that make you smile, like a picture with friends from a funny night out, or a photo of your dog in a hilarious costume.
- Host a game night: Nothing beats a shared laugh. Invite some friends over for a game night and play party-style games like Charades or Apples to Apples.
- Watch YouTube videos: Need a quick laugh? Head to YouTube. Search anything from jumping cats to funny clips from your favorite show for a fast and easy pick-me-up.
- Spend time with playful people: We tend to be influenced by the people we hang around. Make an effort to hang out more with the funniest friend in your circle. Ask them to get coffee or lunch and talk about the silly things that happened in your day.
Whether you’re stressed about finals or your current workload, making an effort to engage in some of the above activities and laugh a little can help mitigate any excess stress. Participating in some of these activities doesn’t take long. If you only have five minutes, watch a funny YouTube video. If you have a free night this week, consider having friends over for a game night.
Whichever way you choose to add more laughter into your life, maintaining a healthy mindset is important for grad students. Take a look at our infographic below for more tips on how to relieve stress with a little bit of laughter.
I am a firm believer in the power of laughter, especially when trying to fight against the negative effects of stress. Stress is everywhere, some of it is even good for you.
When the not-so-good stress hits repeatedly and the body is not given an opportunity to recover from it, a condition known as chronic stress is developed.
Studies have indicated untreated chronic stress leads to a variety of mental and physical issues, including depression, anxiety, weakened immune system, heart disease, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and countless more ailments and diseases (APA, 2015).
According to The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2015), chronic diseases are responsible for approximately seven out of every ten deaths in the United States. Nothing to laugh about there, right?
Not really, but those harsh facts are the best reasons ever to find ways to laugh on a regular basis, as well as learning how to manage the chronic stress that is likely making you sick.
Laughter is my main focus as a stress management consultant and there are several reasons. First and foremost, it is free.
You do not have to pay someone else in order to have a good laugh. Second, and really this is more like a tie for first, there are actual physical and emotional benefits from laughter, no joke! Laughter has both short-term and long-term effects on the body and mind.
The immediate effects of laughter activate and relieve the stress response, the intake of oxygen during laughter stimulates internal organs, and the relieving of the stress response leaves one with a euphoric feeling (Mayo Clinic, 2013).
If that is not reason enough to start laughing today, the long-term effects should tickle you. The long-term effects are a direct result of the immediate effects of laughter.
Controlling the stress response, increasing the intake of oxygen-rich air, and releasing endorphins in the brain lead to effective management of stress.
The immune system can strengthen, one’s overall mood can improve, pain can be eased, and personal satisfaction with life can be increased all with the power of laughter.
Of course the only way to prove me wrong is by trying it. So go ahead, bring laughter into your life intentionally and on a regular basis. Have a good, hard, belly laugh — the kind that leaves your cheeks and ribs sore and a tears in your eyes — at least once a day.
Try it for a month. If, after a month of laughing every day, you do not feel the positive effects, then come back here and tell us. That is my challenge to everyone who is dealing with more stress than they care to mention!
There is no excuse not to try either, because if you are reading this article you have access to absolutely every type of humor you can imagine right at your finger tips. Slapstick, gross-out, stand-up, improve; whatever makes you laugh, all you have to do is type it in the search bar of your browser.
It is that easy! As a parent you will also be modeling healthy stress management for your children on a level they will readily understand, and who doesn’t like that?
Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.
Relax. You deserve it, it’s good for you, and it takes less time than you think.
American Heart Association: “Four Ways to Deal With Stress.”; PubMed Central: “Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin.”; NIH News in Health: “Can Pets Keep You Healthy?”; Cleveland Clinic: “Want a Healthy Heart? Laugh More!”; HelpGuide.org: “Laughter Is the Best Medicine.”; Association for Psychological Science: “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal; Displays Affect Neuroendocrine; Levels and Risk Tolerance.”; Harvard Business School: “Power Posing: Fake It Until you Make It.”; IZA.org: “The Effect of Sexual Activity on Wages.”
You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips can get you from OMG to om in less than 15 minutes.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. вЂњResearch suggests that daily meditation may alter the brainвЂ™s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,вЂќ says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as вЂњI feel at peaceвЂќ or вЂњI love myself.вЂќ Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
2. Breathe Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
вЂњDeep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,вЂќ psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.
3. Be Present
вЂњTake 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,вЂќ Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when youвЂ™re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.
When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
4. Reach Out
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
5. Tune In to Your Body
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.
вЂњSimply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything,вЂќ Tutin says. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.
Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.
вЂњPlace the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and apply pressure,вЂќ says Cathy Benninger, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
7. Laugh Out Loud
A good belly laugh doesnвЂ™t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your bodyвЂ™s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
8. Crank Up the Tunes
Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. вЂњCreate a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece,вЂќ Benninger says. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes — or singing at the top of your lungs!
9. Get Moving
You donвЂ™t have to run in order to get a runnerвЂ™s high. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs.
10. Be Grateful
Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.
вЂњBeing grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,вЂќ says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.
Use these journals to savor good experiences like a childвЂ™s smile, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. DonвЂ™t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new task at work or a new hobby.
When you start feeling stressed, spend a few minutes looking through your notes to remind yourself what really matters.
American Psychological Association: вЂњExercise fuels the brainвЂ™s stress buffers.вЂќ
Bennett, M. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2008.
Bennett, M. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2003.
Cathy Benninger, RN, CNP, MS, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Joni Emmerling, wellness coach, Greenville, NC.
Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, clinical psychologist, health and wellness coach; founder and owner, Centered Coaching, Chicago.
Harvard Health Publications: вЂњIn Brief: Sing along for health.вЂќ
Koelsch, S. Frontiers in Psychology, June 2011.
Judith Tutin, PhD, psychologist, life coach, Rome, GA.В
It is a well-known fact that laughter is the best medicine. It can melt away tension and alleviate stress-related ailments. Many studies have confirmed the health benefits of laughter. Despite the overwhelming proof about the therapeutic use of laughter, it is rarely used in conventional medicine. Why is that so?
Forget the utilization of laughter in the medical field, we are not even exploiting this simple activity as a stress-buster in our daily lives. And that too when we are very much aware of the after-effects of stress on our health. Why are we so reluctant to use laughter to keep a host of lifestyle diseases at bay?
The answer may be too simple – to the point of sounding ridiculous. Laughter is just not part of our habit. In this modern world, we take our lives too seriously and fail to see the lighter side of things. This means, to derive the benefits of laughter, we have to include it deliberately in our lives. This is exactly the goal of laughter therapy.
Who said all good things are difficult to practice? Or only bitter pills do you any good? With laughter, you get to enjoy it and reap benefits from it. So, why not give laughter therapy a try?
In addition to relieving muscular tension, laughter affords a good workout for muscles in the face, abdomen, and diaphragm. When we enjoy a good laugh, our abdominal muscles go through a full set of expansions and contractions, similar to that of an abdominal workout.
Here are some simple laughter exercises to loosen up those funny muscles.
1. Talking gibberish to your mirror image
Look at yourself in the mirror and start talking nonsense. You can either opt for simple something like “blah de blah de blah blah” or more complex gibberish talk by inserting sounds like ‘idig’ between syllables. See how you crack up in no time.
2. Use your body to express the feeling
When you come across something funny, do not just laugh. Use your body to bring out the feeling in a better way. Such as clapping hands, jumping up and down.
3. Frame your stress scene
Go back into your past and retrieve that moment when you were stressed out. Capture that entire scene with all those present in it in an art gallery picture frame with all its fancy embellishments. Notice how this simple exercise changes your perception of that incident.
4. Play the best laughter you have heard in your mind
It may be one of your friends or siblings or colleagues who has that infectious laughter. Someone who can help you forget your worries with their laughter. Someone who can help you laugh at your sorrows. Remember that special laughter and play it in your mind. Now, retrieve that scene from your past that stressed you out. Play the same laughter simultaneously. Repeat this exercise a few times until you feel the tension melt away.
5. Create your own blow-up clown
Breathe air into an imaginary inflatable clown. Watch the clown as it gets bigger and bigger. When it gets blown up full size, you can ask questions like “What can I do to be happier?”, “How can I have more fun?” or “How can I become more cheerful?”. Remember you can summon this clown any time you want.
These exercises may seem silly and trivial in the beginning. Believe in them and practice them earnestly, you will be surprised at the results.
Did you know that you could use humor to relieve stress? Consider the phrase, “laughter is the best medicine.” This phrase is true and you can use humor relieve stress in your life too.
Stress is the Silent Killer
Physicians and researchers agree that stress has become one of the biggest threats to the health of people worldwide. Stress doesn’t just cause muscle tension that can be treated with a massage or a few pills. Stress causes internal damage that isn’t always visible to the naked eye. The record number of heart attacks and strokes each year can attest to one of the worst effects of stress. Heart attacks can happen during stressful situations, such as driving in heavy traffic, working in a stressful occupation, or simply getting angry with a family member. According to the American Heart Association, one in every five deaths is attributed to heart attacks.
How Humor Relieves Stress
Laughter can help to relax muscles, lower blood pressure, and increase the oxygen level in your blood. Laughter lowers the serum cortisol levels in the blood and increases the T-lymphocytes (T-cells) in the body. Dr. Lee Berk at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine did studies on the effect laughter has on the body’s immune system. His research showed that laughter increased the number of T-cells and the activity of natural killer cells. His findings showed that laughter stimulated the immune system, counteracting the negative effects of stress.
When to Use Humor
In some cultures, laughing out loud in public is not acceptable. In the United States, however, laughing is appropriate, as long as it isn’t done at someone’s expense or done at an inappropriate time. Being able to laugh at yourself, or your mistakes, makes it easy to relieve stress, especially at work. When you reduce the stress of a situation, it allows you to view a situation more clearly. Laughter can help to put some distance between yourself and a problem and allow you to find a solution more easily. Try humor the next time you have a problem at work or at home.
How to Use Humor to Relieve Stress
If you’re having trouble imagining yourself laughing, or think that nothing can tickle your funny bone, think again. Everyone has a sense of humor, even if they don’t express it frequently. According to Dr. Linda Mintle, a licensed clinical social worker, the following methods can help people to laugh and release stress.
- Read a funny book
- Watch cartoons and comedies on television or DVD
- Tell jokes
- Tickle or be tickled
- Play a fun board game with kids
- Play a silly single-player video game
- Go out to see a silly movie at the theater
- Listen to an upbeat talk radio show or listen to silly songs on CD
Now that you know how humor can help you relieve stress in your life, it is time to apply it. The following are a few examples of how you can apply humor to a stressful situation in your life.
- Stress while driving. Everyone who drives has experienced anger at one time or another, whether it is bumper-to-bumper situations or anger at an inconsiderate driver. Set at least one channel on the dial to a fun talk show or station with fun, upbeat songs. Additionally, collect a few humorous CDs to play. Try Weird Al Yankovik or Doctor Demento for some adult silly songs.
- Stress at home. Rent or buy a few really silly movies to play when you’re feeling out of sorts. Some classics include Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Galaxy Quest, and Wild Hogs.
- Stress at work. Your computer has crashed and you have a lot of work to do, or your boss is demanding shorter deadlines and harder projects. Everyone has experienced this or similar problems sometime. Self-deprecating humor can go a long way, especially if you caused the problem. Crack a joke about the situation, or yourself, but never at another person’s expense.
Incorporate more humor in your life to reduce the chances of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Use humor to relieve stress because it really is the best, and least expensive, medicine available.
Anxiety isn’t funny. It is, instead, rather humorless. When my head pounds and spins, when my chest constricts and spasms in a fit of coughing, when I feel worried and afraid for reasons too vague to wrap my mind around — and simultaneously too specific to pull my mind out of– the last thing I feel like doing is laughing. Nothing seems remotely funny. Finding humor can be difficult when we live with anxiety; however, if we can begin to look for humor, we can find that laughter can be a great coping skill.
Laughter Reduces Anxiety
Researchers are discovering that laughter has many benefits. Among the ways laughter lifts us is by increasing our overall well-being and boosting our mental health. 1
When we live with anxiety day in and day out or are in the throes of a panic attack, our stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, pulse through us. As a result, we remain tense, coiled for action, and anxious.
Although there are no quick fixes for anything in life, remarkably, a good laugh can instantly begin to reduce these nasty stress hormones that are intertwined with anxiety. Laughter gets to work immediately, and a regular “diet” of laughter continues to decrease anxiety over time.
How is it that laughter can reduce anxiety when anxiety is no laughing matter? The act of laughing is similar to deep breathing in its ability to increase the oxygen in our bodies. Coupled with reducing stress hormones, the increased oxygen in the body helps lead to muscle relaxation. All of this helps reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Laughter Delivers a Less Anxious Outlook
Laughing feels good. It’s addictive; we keep wanting more. When we laugh regularly, our anxiety begins to decrease.
When we embrace humor and give ourselves a chance to be a little bit lighter for even a short while each day, we shift our focus. Rather than seeing the world within and without as a worrisome place, we start to see it as a good, safe, perhaps even fun, place. We start to see beyond the anxiety. Sure, the anxiety lingers for a while, but every time we can laugh we loosen its stronghold.
Introducing intentional laughter into our lives decreases stress hormones. Breathing deeply during the act of laughing relaxes muscles. Thinking about something funny shifts our focus to new things. Embracing humor regularly helps our outlook become more positive. Humor and laughter diminish anxiety.
The difficulty with this lies not so much in believing what researchers are reporting but in applying it. “How can I possibly laugh when my anxiety is so strong all the time?” is a common question. I invite you to tune into the video for a few suggestions to get you started.
Peterson, T. (2014, December 25). Laughter Can Chase Away Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/12/laughter-can-chase-away-anxiety
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Tanya J. Peterson delivers online and in-person mental health education for students in elementary and middle school. She is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She also speaks nationally about mental health. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Physical Wellness
- Mental Wellness
- Food Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
Bullet Points of Content
How to Ease the Stress of Change
What is it about change that’s so terrible? It doesn’t rely on if the change you’re experiencing is perceived as positive or negative, shifts from lifestyles as you realize it is able to be interpreted as stressful.
I’ve been assuming about this a lot lately inside the context of my existence. The past year has been overflowing with adjustments for me, including:
- Getting married
- Buying a residence and moving
- Two important hip surgeries
- Transitioning to a brand new profession after 15 years in the snug career
All of those new and unfamiliar occasions had high-quality undertones, where existence promised improvement with the shift. But even the maximum effective adjustments can cause massive quantities of stress .
I assign this to something I call “The What If Attack,” which is how my thoughts (and I suspect I’m now not alone,) naturally methods uncertainty. I tend to worry, and with change, I feel as even though I’m being attacked via feasible scenarios and ability roadblocks – most of which will in no way grow to be a reality. The amount of the voices is what I check with as “The What If Attack.” If you’re familiar with self-doubt and may relate to being a worrier, you possibly know what I’m regarding.
In the past, I’ve misplaced this battle with uncertainty, which has left me feeling overwhelmed down and overtaken through the voices in my head that recognize best the capability negative effects. This has stopped me many times from shifting ahead with opportunities if you’re not privy to the voices and their insistence on beginning a “What If Attack,” it’s easy to let them deliver you away right into a sea of pressure when you’re confronted with an alternative.
What Exactly Is Change?
The dictionary explains change as “the act or instance of making or becoming special.” When we discuss lifestyle modifications, we’re simply referring to a shift of any type in life; it doesn’t want to be restrained to at least one instance – it could be a transition in a relationship, passionate or physical state, own family or work situation, environment, or otherwise. These shifts venture what we know – now not always due to the fact they’re innately challenging – but due to the fact they’re distinct from what we know.
Your Brain Is Conditioned to Dread Change
The critical thing with change is that it’s unfamiliar, which the brain interprets as a threat. With new territories of mastering comes the uncertainty of the outcome.
When that uncertainty hands itself with “The What If Attack” and I’m no longer organized to combat back, I get overwhelmed by the stressful possibilities of failure that my mind forms, when this occurs, I lose the battle.
Train Your Brain to Control Change in a Healthy Way
Since your mind likes statistics and stories that it understands, increasing your brain’s enjoyment with change will assist it in sensing greater snug. Like something in existence, you get higher with exercise. Practice & study about change, and you’ll become more adept & proficient at handling it.
Meditation also can enhance your ability to respond to change. Regular meditation practice will assist you in de-circumstance your reactions and recurring activity – i.E. Responding to change with “The What If Attack”— and increase your ability to select your response to change. Creating the sample of pausing earlier than reacting and speaking with a conscious goal is a natural extension of meditation.
The 1st action to fight “The What If Attack” is to come to be aware that it’s happening. When faced with change, the worry of uncertainty and all of the “What Ifs” that come along with it’s far normal. Just because it’s normal, it doesn’t suggest it’s helpful. Expect the “The What If Attack” and you’ll be prepared to reply in a wholesome way, instead of permitting it to overhaul you.
The second step is to just accept the change. Even in case, you don’t believe it, when you accept that it’s miles happening, you are essentially aligning yourself with the reality that this is the change. Removing that layer of resistance will make your existence easier.
The 3rd step is to have a discussion with the opinions back to the “The What If Attack.” Give description to them why you’re transferring in the change and explain the excellent potential effects that may end result from the change. You may repeat this step. For every “What if you lose?” reply it with “What if I win?”.
Some other strategies to help you cope with changes
- Focus on what you can control.
- See the changes as inevitable opportunities rather than unlucky events.
- Put a time frame on the adjustment period.
- Don’t neglect your basic needs.
- Surround yourself with family & friends.
- Use writing to process your feelings about the changes.
- Develop small routines to keep you grounded.
- Use laughter to ease your worries.
- Seek professional help if you need it.
With exercise and awareness, you can step into times of change with ease as opposed to stress.
Effie Brown is an article writer and freelancer. She completes her graduation in marketing, but she always has an interest in phycology. So, later she starts writing about human psychology and mindfulness.
Healing with Positivity, Love & Happiness!
“The belly laugh is the best way to evacuate anguish.”
Who doesnt have problems? Anyone?? Look around you, look at everyone around you and notice. Each and everyone of us has some problem or issue with which we are dealing with everyday. Sometimes, its a small problem and sometimes its a massive problem. But its there. Noone can deny it. I have my own share too. We try to deal with these problems as best we can, but they can and they do get to us. More often these problems cause so much stress, it starts showing up on your physical being in the form of hypertension, acidity, breathing problems, snoring, sleeplessness..the list is endless. Looking for the solution in pills and with doctors is not always a necessity. OK Pills help, but temporarily. When another stressful situation comes along another pill and then another and then another. The dependency on those little pills can become another massive issue.
There ain’t much fun in medicine, but there’s a heck of a lot of medicine in fun.
What if there was a way to de-stress which didnt require pills? What if there was a way to de-stress and make yourself happy while you did it? How much fun that would be..right!
Well, is exactly that. Its the Medicine for your heart and soul which inturn keeps your physical body happy too. Amazing isnt it?! It is natures very own magic pill, but so much bigger and so much better. And ever so contagious.
For me Laughter is one of my all-time favorite stress management strategies because it’s free, convenient, and beneficial in so many ways.
What kind of laughter am I talking about? The belly kind..oh yes, the kind that when you start, you cant stop. The kind that makes your beautiful cheeks hurt and the kind that makes tears of joy flow through your gorgeous eyes.
You can infuse more laughter in your life and de-stress, just like I have with the following acts:
- Comic T.V. and Movies: So many wonderful storytellers, such wonderful actors and great directors make watching comedies truly a happy happy experience. There’s no shortage of laughter from the entertainment, both at the theater and in the aisles of the video stores, as well as at home with T.V. comedies. While wasting your time watching something marginally funny may actually frustrate you, watching truly hilarious movies and shows is an easy way to get laughter into your life whenever you need it. My personal favorite sitcoms are – 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, How I met Your Mother among many others.
- Laugh Dates With Family and Friends: Going to a movie or comedy club with family and friends is a great way to get more laughter in your life. The contagious effects of laughter may mean you’ll laugh more than you otherwise would have during the show, plus you’ll have jokes to reference at later times. Having friends over for a get together or game night is also a great setup for laughter and other good happy feelings.
- Humor yourself: Why complain about life’s frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it’s ridiculous, realize that you could look back on it and laugh. Think of how it will sound as a story you could tell your friends, and then see if you can laugh about it now. With an attitude of this kind, you may also find yourself being more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to laugh about. Approaching life in a more mirthful way will make you less stressed about negative events, and you’ll achieve the health benefits of laughter.
- Have Fun: With life’s stresses we tend to forget to have fun. Have fun while you enjoy an ice cream cone with your kids or yourself. Have fun at work by sharing a joke with colleagues. Have fun at home with your partner by playing fun games that make you laugh like crazy. Just let go, and see how much fun you can have. Laughter will just be the best companion if you’re having fun.
There are many other ways to infuse your life with laughter. You know yourself better, figure out ways to laugh. Laugh out loud! There is no better feeling and no better medicine.
May your life be full of laughter and may those little pills never find you!
Do you have some more tips and tricks to infuse Laughter in our lives? Please share your funnies in the comments ..I look forward to some more laughing 🙂
♥♥”Please, Share this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach more people who need a positive healing nudge in their lives. Thank you!”♥♥
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
GET YOUR ‘POSITIVE HAPPINESS GOODIES’. Get the latest articles(FREE) as soon as they are published, by Email OR RSS . PLUS if you are an Email Subscribe r , You get the Positive Living Handbook+My Ebook “The Best of Positive Provocations”+ “Your Self Healing Starter Kit”. Come Join the facebook community & follow me on Twitter and Google+ for Positive Provocations Everyday!
Robie is a big fan of healthy and natural living and loves gardening, a passion passed on by her grandparents.
Did you know laughter has multiple beneficial effects on our brain and body? A good belly laugh reduces stress and promotes healing. Some info on how that works in this article.
Free-Photos via Pixabay
Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Have you ever noticed how you feel good and relaxed after a hearty laugh?
It’s not just an impression; a good laugh can do wonders for you. Scientists have proven that laughter is a wonderful healing tool; a free and fun way to improve your quality of life and decrease stress. That’s why humor and laughter are being used more and more in many therapeutic circumstances.
Laughing often and looking at things with humor are antidotes for stress, pain, and conflict. Your sense of humor is the best tool to keep your stress to the minimum and your emotions in good health.
Laughter is a wonderful natural medicine for both mind and body, and it’s free, 100% organic, and has no known negative side effects.
Laugh easily and frequently, it’s a great help to overcome problems, heightening relationships, and maintaining physical and emotional health.
” data-full-src=”https://images.saymedia-content.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTc0NDY4OTIxODYzMzgyMzc2/how-to-laugh-and-have-fun-for-stress-relief.jpg” data-image-id=”ci026bd68f70022568″ data-image-slug=”how-to-laugh-and-have-fun-for-stress-relief” data-public-id=”MTc0NDY4OTIxODYzMzgyMzc2″ data-source-name=”pexels via Pixabay” data-srcset=”https://images.saymedia-content.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTc0NDY4OTIxODYzMzgyMzc2/how-to-laugh-and-have-fun-for-stress-relief.jpg 320w, https://images.saymedia-content.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTc0NDY4OTIxODYzMzgyMzc2/how-to-laugh-and-have-fun-for-stress-relief.jpg 700w, https://images.saymedia-content.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_851/MTc0NDY4OTIxODYzMzgyMzc2/how-to-laugh-and-have-fun-for-stress-relief.jpg 851w” data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-thumbnail=”https://images.saymedia-content.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTc0NDY4OTIxODYzMzgyMzc2/how-to-laugh-and-have-fun-for-stress-relief.jpg”>
Do fun things with childhood abandon, let your inner child take over and enjoy.
News: Laughter Can Help Ease Stress, Pain And Even Fight Cancer
DID you hear the one about the man who listened to the match? He burnt his ear. OK, it’s not a side-splitter but if you responded with even the faintest chuckle, you may have saved yourself a few minutes off your next workout.
Laughter, scientists have discovered, can do as much good for your body as going for a run. Volunteers who watched 20 minutes of comedies and stand-up routines experienced a dramatic drop in stress hormones, blood pressure and cholesterol. Their appetite was also stimulated just as it is with exercise.
Doctor Lee Berk from Loma Linda University, California, who led the study, has concluded “laughacise” could be a way to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. He says: “There’s no doubt about it – the ‘high’ people get from mirthful laughter is very similar to the endorphin rush you get from light to moderate exercise.”
The news that giggling is the new jogging will be particularly welcome to the elderly he says, many of whom long ago packed away their trainers and tracksuits.
Having studied the effects of laughter for over 20 years, this is not the first time Dr Berk has found that sniggering is sensible. Back in the Nineties he found laughter increased the number of cancer-killing cells in patients.
The good news for those who are too stoical to let loose with big belly laughs is that anticipation of a good laugh also has benefits. “It was quite by accident that we stumbled across this finding,” admits Dr Berk. “The expectation of watching a video was enough to raise levels of feel-good endorphins and boost amounts of a hormone that helps our immune systems fight infection.”
Other studies have found laughing reduces allergic responses, including hay fever symptoms. It can even reduce pain. Medical experts in the US asked children aged eight to 14 to put their hand into cold water and they found the whole group tolerated the temperature longer while watching a funny video. Those who laughed most remembered less of the pain. Moreover, hormone tests on their saliva showed their stress levels were lower after laughing.
“In the future, patients watching funny videos could become a standard component of some medical procedures,” says Dr Margaret Stuber who led the American research.
Cartoons are already used in anaesthetic rooms at Manchester Children’s Hospital and “clown doctors” are used in children’s wards across the UK to help distract children from their trauma.
Even if you already have a condition such as diabetes, laughter can be the best medicine. In one study, people who watched a funny video during dinner had lower blood sugar levels after the meal compared to the people who watched a video of a lecture.
Can we train ourselves to laugh more? Yes, says Dr Berk. “If you jog as exercise, you don’t think about where you are going. You jog for the sheer physiological benefits you gain from the experience. Since we know there are health benefits to laughing, we should take the same approach.”
In fact, a growing number of people already are, through yoga.
So-called “laughter yoga” has participants running around halls cackling hysterically. “Children laugh spontaneously about nothing so there’s no reason adults can’t too. We simply tap into that childlike playfulness,” says Akasha Lonsdale, a trainer at the Laughter School (www.thelaughterschool.com). “Although the laughter may feel fake at first, Akasha says this doesn’t matter.
“Even if you pretend to laugh or act happy, your body produces the same physiological responses as if you’re having a genuine belly laugh. Our bodies don’t know the difference between thinking about doing something and actually doing it.”
Matt Modget, 27, tried it a couple of years ago. “I saw something on the TV about it and was intrigued.
“In our class, we had to run around the room making laughter noises but it’s so silly that you end up laughing a lot and it’s incredible how relaxed you feel at the end. After every class I sleep so well.”
Laughter yoga tones muscles, improves respiration and circulation and burns calories. Laughing 200 times is the equivalent of rowing for 10 minutes and going to a laughter yoga class on a regular basis can help you lose 4lb in a year.
Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, isn’t surprised. Laughter is scientifically proven to be contagious. She says: “Laughter helps us interact socially. It plays an incredibly important role in building strong bonds between individuals.”
So impressed are some councils by the healing powers of laughter that they have funded laughter therapy. One SureStart centre in Lancashire ran a six-week course for depressed mothers and the results were staggering. “My cheeks hurt with laughing,” says one woman. “Now I join in more with the children and I’ve changed the way I look at things.”
You can always cultivate your sense of humor by making an effort to find the funny side of things says chartered psychologist Dr Michael Lowis who has carried out research on the benefits of humor.
With the average person only laughing for six minutes a day rather than the recommended 20, we have a long way to go.
So next time you’re feeling low fear not, just look at the sunny side.
You may be familiar with the symptoms of stress, including a pounding heart, increased perspiration, tight neck and shoulder muscles, anxiety and fear. [These are signs that your mind and body have gone into “fight or flight” mode.] But, you may not know how to prevent or relieve these symptoms. Stress can be triggered by events, ideas, memories, emotions or failed expectations, and for some, can be just one of the many signs of a behavioral health condition. A behavioral health condition like anxiety can impact how you go about your daily routine. At Blue KC, we are here to help you manage your stress as we continue to work with our providers and within our community to help treat a person’s whole self. The following tips can help you counteract the negative effects of stress:
A regular workout can release pent-up frustrations. Experts recommend getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Choose any aerobic activity: walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing or step aerobics.
A diet of wholesome, healthful foods can help stabilize your moods. Consuming caffeine, sugar, alcohol, nicotine and prescription or illegal drugs can increase your stress, making coping more difficult.
Make Time for Laughter and Fun
Surround yourself with happy people who like to laugh. Let the child in you come out, and you’ll find laughter is one of the best stress remedies.
Immerse Yourself in a Favorite Activity or Hobby
Give yourself a block of time to focus on a task or activity instead of on the problems in your life. Gardening, carpentry, sewing, working with clay, painting and drawing are good choices.
Use A Variety Of Relaxation Techniques
Deep-breathing exercises, progressive relaxation, visualization, creative imagery, yoga, meditation or listening to relaxation tapes can help.
Live in the Present
Many causes of your stress probably come from thinking about the past or worrying about the future. If you can plant yourself firmly in the present, you can leave worries behind and focus on enjoying the moment.
If you or a loved one suffers from a behavioral health condition that is causing stress, learn the ways to tackle the barriers to behavioral healthcare and seek help. You don’t have to suffer alone. For more information about Blue KC’s behavioral health offerings, call our behavioral health partner, New Directions, at 1-800-528-5763. This number can also be found on your Blue KC member ID card.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up with the latest at Blue KC and how we’re transforming behavioral healthcare.
Get tips to help you manage stress in a healthy way — so you can take on the day.
Everyone knows what it’s like to feel stress—it can show itself in many ways. When something stressful happens, you may feel anger, frustration, sorrow, disbelief, guilt or disappointment. You can probably add other emotions to this list, too. But even though you can’t always control what happens around you, you can be more aware of how you react to stress—and take steps to manage it better.
Let’s look at some ways you can take action, so you can get a handle on stress.
- Slow down. Taking a few deep breaths and counting to 10 can help relieve the symptoms of stress on the spot. Deep breaths and pausing before acting can slow your rapid breathing. It can give you valuable seconds to think about how you’re going to respond to a stressful situation.
- Enjoy simple pleasures. Think about what really relaxes you. Is it being alone with a good book? Driving in the country? Sharing lunch with a friend? Walking with your dog? Look for opportunities to do things you enjoy, even if it’s just for 15 minutes every day.
- Practice positive self-talk. You may sometimes say to yourself, “Oh great, here I go again.” Or, “I’ll never get this done.” Try flipping your thinking around to, “I’m not going to do that again,” or “I’ll just tackle one thing at a time.” Frame your thinking around success, rather than failure.
- Seize the moment. Stressors can be unexpected, like being cut off in traffic or a dispute at work. It might help to put together an emergency “tool kit” of healthy ways to respond to such things. Then you can feel relaxed and prepared for almost anything.
- Let things go. Some things aren’t worth sweating over. Ask yourself, “Will this matter a month from now?” Try to set priorities, separating the big stuff from the small stuff. Let some of the small stuff go. Then reward yourself for a meaningful accomplishment — instead of being hard on yourself for not getting everything done.
- Find reasons to laugh. A sense of humor can put problems in a whole new light. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. As the saying goes, laughter just might be the best medicine.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Getting enough rest and sleep will also help you deal with everyday stressors.
Using humor has been proven to relieve stress. Still, very few of us would admit to not having a good sense of humor. Yet too often, we lose the ability to laugh (or at least smile) at the nonsense and lunacy of life all around us.
You don’t have to be a standup comic or dazzle the group with side-splitting one-liners to make humor work for you. Here are some ways you can make humor one of your stress-reducing tools.
Reframe the situation. Dr. Joel Goodman, director of the HUMOR Project in Saratoga Springs, New York, suggests that if you’re having trouble finding humor in a potentially stressful situation, try to see that situation through someone else’s eyes.
Try to imagine how a friend with a particularly offbeat sense of humor may see it. Or ask yourself how not finding a parking spot or losing your wallet may have been handled on an episode of Seinfeld.
Be around others who make you laugh. The humor of other people can be contagious. Not only can their laughter and humor lower your stress level, but you can begin to talk about your own stresses in more comical ways.
Tickle your fancy. Try to find and collect bits of humor that you can use to induce a smile or a laugh. It can be that picture of you with that ridiculous look on your face. Stick it up on your bathroom mirror.
Or it may be a humorous quip or cartoon that makes you chuckle. Put that on the fridge or stick it on your desk at work. Whenever I’m stressed by the need to clean up the house, I recall that marvelous Joan Rivers quip: “I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes — and six months later you have to start all over again.”
Anything that can evoke a smile can change your mood for the better.
Exaggeration is another great way of diffusing a potentially stressful situation, robbing it of much of its impact. One form of exaggeration uses the Blow-up Technique. Here’s how it works. Suppose you’re angry because your neighbor has the TV sound turned up too loud. Let your imagination take it from there.
Now imagine that he has turned it up full blast. Not only that, but he has turned every radio he owns up to ear-splitting levels. You notice that you hear live music and realize a high-school band is practicing in his living room. The walls are now shaking. You get a phone call from your cousin half a mile away, asking what’s going on. The police and fire department start arriving . . . and then you smile.
Exaggeration and distortion can help you put things into clearer perspective. Try it.
How to be able to laugh at life to ease stress
Humour is good for your personal development
This is a great video of a man who clearly found the funny side of his own life – Brilliant!
Without humour and laughter yours and my life would be intolerable. To be able to look at a situation and laugh it off is a reward of being sane. There may not be very many but knowing what’s funny is one of them 🙂
“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”, George Bernard Shaw
You just need to have to laugh sometimes at life’s absurdities. Our perspectives are obscured by our own prejudices and emotions. Humour just help us to see the same situation with a more positive outlook and defuse negative energy of the situation.
“The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.”, Mark Russell
People who are depressed are not able to laugh at life or themselves any more. Stress builds up layers and layers and they dig a huge psychological hole of depression.
Never lose your sense of humour because it is the antidote to stress.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Researchers from the University of Basel found that smiling in everyday life can help, too.
Whether you enjoy spending time with loved ones or simply watching a funny television show, smiling and laughing are likely guaranteed results of doing some of your favorite activities. And, according to Science Daily, that’s a good thing—these two expressions of happiness do much more than just show others that you’re having a good time. Researchers from the Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology of the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel published in the PLOS ONE journal found that regular amounts of laughter can help relieve you of stress in life events.
To gather their findings, the researchers used an acoustic signal from an app to prompt the participants of the study with questions eight times each day for two weeks. Each question was in connection to how often the volunteers—41 psychology students, 33 who were women and about 22-years-old on average—laughed. The questions also asked about intensity of the laughter and the reason for chuckling in everyday life.
In their first round of results, the researchers and lead authors for the study, Dr. Thea Zander-Schellenberg and Dr. Isabella Collins, noted that when participants said they experienced laughter, they likely didn’t have stressful events going on in life.
On the other hand, they discovered in their later findings that intensity in laughter (strong, medium, or weak) didn’t play a factor in connection to stress symptoms. “This could be because people are better at estimating the frequency of their laughter, rather than its intensity, over the last few hours,” the team noted.
Incorporating humor into the workplace leads to real benefits for employees and organizations, including reduced absenteeism, enhanced problem-solving skills, increased production and persistence, and a boost in creativity.
That’s great, but what if you’re just not that funny? Whether you’re the corporate comedian or you’re more of a serious manager, here’s a model to help you add levity to your workplace.
The L.A.F.T.E.R. Model
(I’ve never understood why there’s an “ugh” in the middle of the word “laughter” anyway.)
Lead by example.
Ask for help.
Fun over funny.
Tell your story.
Lead by example.
Try not to take yourself too seriously. That means doing things like participating in those ridiculous team builders or even making fun of yourself on occasion. Bad hair day? Stain on your shirt? Rather than trying to cover it up all day, show it off! I once spilled a thermos of coffee on my lap, and rather than heading straight for the restroom, I stopped by the lobby, where several employees were, and showed off my stupidity. Immediately, the quiet new employee who I hadn’t yet gotten to know shook his head and said, “I told you to see a doctor about that!” which got everyone laughing. From then on, he seemed more at ease around me as a supervisor, and our relationship felt more genuine.
Ask for help.
If humor isn’t your thing, there’s always someone who would love to take on the task! In fact, once you anoint them as your “Head of Humor,” “Queen of Comedy” or whatever you want to call it, they probably won’t leave you alone about all of the ideas they have! (Can you already picture who this person is in your office?)
You can even combine the first two tips. Leading by example could be your way of asking for help. One executive I know who isn’t great at being funny on the spot had a brilliant idea. He asked colleagues he was close with to tease him more often in front of employees rather than just when they were alone so people could see that he was easygoing and could laugh at himself.
Fun over funny.
For most of us, trying too hard to be funny leads to more groans and eye rolls than laughs (think Michael Scott in The Office). If you want to get people laughing, instead of trying to be funny, just get them to have fun. According Robert Provine, a professor of neurobiology and psychology, we are 30 times more likely to laugh in groups than by ourselves. The key is to engage people in activities where they can play and interact with one another, like making a meal together, doing a service project, attending trivia nights, talent shows, or participating in March Madness or Oscars brackets for prizes, etc.
Tell your story.
Bringing humor to work doesn’t have to be a covert operation. You’ll gain more traction if you simply tell people your goal. Let them know you’re hoping to make it a more fun place to work and you’ll probably get ideas from them. This also shows people that you’re trying and you care about them.
Tell your story to potential employees and customers as well. Is fun or humor reflected in your company’s values? What about in advertising, Facebook pages and tweets? How about job descriptions? Along with technical skills, add that you’re looking for someone with a “sense of humor” or who values a “fun and creative work environment.”
You’ve now read most of an article (congratulations by the way), about the importance of humor at work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give you license to spend your day practicing one-liners or watching YouTube videos of cats falling into fish tanks. Before you can be goofy, you have to be good.
A 2012 Bell Leadership Institute study found that when employees are asked to describe characteristics of leaders in their organizations, “work ethic” and “sense of humor” are both mentioned twice as much as any other trait. People must see you as reliable first, then your tomfoolery will be accepted as a welcome reprieve rather than an annoying distraction.
You can’t change corporate culture with just a funny bulletin board or a pingpong table. A company’s culture is defined by its rituals, which occur annually, monthly, weekly and daily. An annual holiday party is great, but if that’s the only fun event all year, it’s not impacting the culture.
Here are a few examples of rituals to get you started:
Whether you’re guffawing at a sitcom on TV or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke.
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 5, 2019.
Stress relief from laughter
A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
Improve your sense of humor
Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — sense of humor? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.
Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos, greeting cards or comic strips, that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office. Keep funny movies, books, magazines or comedy videos on hand for when you need an added humor boost. Look online at joke websites. Go to a comedy club.
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
Consider trying laughter yoga. In laughter yoga, people practice laughter as a group. Laughter is forced at first, but it can soon turn into spontaneous laughter.
Laughter is the best medicine
Go ahead and give it a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels a little forced. Once you’ve had your chuckle, take stock of how you’re feeling. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or buoyant? That’s the natural wonder of laughing at work.
Ha, ha, ha, hee, hee, hee.Come on get silly and laugh with me.Giggle gaggle, wiggle waggle, ho, ho, ho.When you’re feeling happy, let it show.I got the sillies and when you get ’em,You’ll be silly like me.I can’t stop laughing as you can see.
(Lyrics from Barney & Friends, “Laugh with me”)
Remember laughing so hard as a kid that your sides would nearly split open and tears would stream out of your eyes? When is the last time you have laughed like that as an adult? A Psychology Today article entitled “Happily Ever Laughter” cites a study which shows that the average child in kindergarten laughs some 300 times a day whereas the typical adult laughs a measly 17 times a day. If you haven’t laughed in awhile maybe it is time you did. There is much research to show that laughter really is the best medicine for a lot of different types of maladies including depression.
In this post we are going to explore how laughter can make us feel better physically and emotionally. What does the research show about the benefits of laughter? If you look in the literature there are a multitude of research studies to show that laughter can help with everything from our cardiovascular health to reducing anxiety and feelings of depression.
Here are some of the ways laughter can help us:
Laughter may strengthen the immune system by activating cells that attack viruses.
Laughing may lower blood pressure for some by inducing relaxation and preventing the release of stress hormones such as cortisol.
Some describe laughter as “internal jogging” as you inhale oxygen which stimulates heart and blood circulation.
Laughter can trigger the release of endorphins which give you a sense of well being. These endorphins are also natural painkillers.
Laughing can reduce stress and anxiety because it naturally relaxes you. Laughter induces your heart rate to slow down and your blood pressure to decrease.
Some experts say that laughter increases our creativity as it encourages a new perspective to look at things.
Laughing with others may be the best way to reap the benefits of laughter as it improves our mood through social connection and an increased feeling of belonging. Laughing with friends can decrease feelings of alienation and lowers our risk for depression.
Laughter as Therapy
Laughing at a comedian on TV or watching a funny movie can provide a little lift in mood but some take it a step further and believe that regular group sessions where you laugh with others can be a therapeutic treatment for depression. There is a method called “Laughter Yoga” which is gaining ground as a credible [treatment for depression and anxiety].
Laughter yoga groups around the world are coming together to participate in exercises which combine yoga techniques with forced laughter. The people who run such groups believe that you don’t need to laugh at a joke to reap the benefits of laughter. For example, participants in [the Pasadena Laughter Club] chant, “Ho-Ho-Hah-Hah-Hah!” as they march and clap to the rhythm. This is no comedy club and the members laugh for no reason as a part of this unique therapy. “Fake it until you make it” is the mantra of the creator of laughing yoga, [Dr.Madan Kataria], who is otherwise known as “the Guru of Giggling” by his followers. Dr. Kataria has been quoted as saying, “Laughter cannot solve your problems but it can give you the energy to face your problems, to look at life in a different light, a positive light.”
Doctor Kataria’s philosophy and yoga laughter techniques have caught on around the world. There are yoga laughter groups in India, London, and South Korea. In Philadelphia there are nuns giggling for recreation and at the Pentagon, Army Colonel James Scott has created laughter programs for families of soldiers deployed to Iraq as part of the National Guard.
Just witnessing laughter therapy in action can cause you to burst out in giggles yourself. In a BBC documentary called “The Human Face” (which I highly recommend you to see) actor John Cleese visits Dr. Kataria in Bombay, India where a laughing yoga session is going on. I dare you to watch this video without laughing. As John Cleese reminds us, if you have all these warm funny faces coming at you, you tend to respond naturally with smiling and laughter.
The social part of this therapy can create a feeling of connection without social hierarchy. Dr. Kataria explains that laughter has “no barriers, no language, and no religion.” It is the great equalizer and a way for all people to join together regardless of their personal background.
The great thing about this type of therapy is that it is easy. Laughter is infectious. As many people have said over the years, laughter is the best medicine.
To find out more about laughter yoga here are some further resources:
Here are instructions on Dr. Kataria’s site about how to do various yoga laughter exercises.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this could help with your depression? It does sound easy and fun. Let us know what you think about this method for treating depression or if you have tried it. We are eager to hear from you!
These articles were written by a longtime HealthCentral community member who shared valuable insights from her experience living with multiple chronic health conditions. She used the pen name “Merely Me.”
© 2020 Remedy Health Media, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Laughter as a tool to fight stress and depression
Posted Nov 29, 2013
What’s the difference between a psychologist and a magician?
A psychologist pulls habits out of rats!
Okay so that joke may have been a bit corny. However, for those of you who did find this amusing and were able to laugh, how do you feel now? Do you feel happier, less tense, more enthusiastic? According to psychologist Steve Wilson, self proclaimed “joyologist,” you should.
Research done by Ramon Mora-Ripoll, medical scientific director at Organizacién Mundial de la Risa, Barcelona Spain,has shown that humor and laughter is related to health, and can release physical and emotional tension, improve immune functioning, stimulate circulation, elevate mood, enhance cognitive functioning and, not surprisingly, increase friendliness.
The many psychological and physiological benefits associated with humor and laughter inspired Wilson to start the World Laughter Tour.
“Every day there is more news about the power of humor and laughter to heal us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” claims Wilson. “Every system of the body responds to laughter in some important, positive, healing way”
Since the launch of the World Laughter Tour in 1998, Wilson and his colleagues have designed training programs geared toward training Certified Laughter Leaders. The intent of these workshops is to provide a theoretical background on the science and philosophy of laughter, and to teach therapeutic techniques to be used in laughter therapy. The idea is that the CLLs will go on to establish Laughter Clubs in their local communities where they can practice these techniques and share the benefits of laughter with others.
Wilson was not the first to take interest in the science of laugher. Gelotology, the study of laughter, was established in the late 1960s in an effort to determine the possible physiological and psychological effects humor and laughter can have. One of the pioneers of Gelotology, William F. Fry, a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, has done extensive research on the physiological benefits of laughter with very encouraging findings.
“Mirthful laughter has a scientifically demonstrable exercise impact on several body systems.” According to Fry, “muscles are activated, heart rate is increased, respiration is simplified with increase in oxygen exchange -all similar to the desirable effects of athletic exercise.”
Furthermore, Fry has noted the importance of humor and laughter as stress reducers demonstrating why laughter may be a useful therapeutic tool.
“Stress is antagonized by humor in both its mental or emotional aspect and its physical aspect. Emotional tension contributing to stress, is lowered through the cathartic effects of humor. Mirthful laughter is followed by a state of compensatory physical relaxation, diminishing physical tension.”
One question that has been examined is whether it is beneficial to laugh without reason. Of course, generally people laugh in response to humor or being tickled, but could just learning to laugh for no reason at all yield the same health benefits as from natural laughter?
According to Mora-Ripoll, we cannot distinguish between laughter that is induced by humor and laughter for its own sake, “articificial laughter.” “The brain is not able to distinguish between these types,” claims Mora-Ripoll. “Therefore, it is assumed that similar benefits may be achieved with one or the other.”
Physician Madan Kataria in Mumbai, India also believes that we can derive great physical, mental and social benefits from laughing for no reason. This idea motivated him to develop Laughter Yoga, which combines yogic breathing techniques with unconditional laughter. Rather than using humor to induce laughter, these sessions begin by using exercises that simulate the physical activity of laughter. As the session progresses, through the use of eye-contact and what he refers to as “child-like playfulness,” this artificial laughter transforms into genuine laughter.
Research is being conducted to disentangle the beneficial effects of laughter and humor, but it seems likely that they operate together. So while humor can stimulate laughter, as Kataria attempts to do with Laughter Yoga, perhaps by just laughing we can arouse humorous feelings.
A few studies have examined the effects of laughter yoga and the results are encouraging, showing that practicing exercises that simulate laughter can increase self-efficacy in employees, reduce depression in the elderly, and promote cardiovascular health. This is important, for as Fry notes, the average kindergartener laughs 300 times a day while the average adult laughs only 17 times a day. Life gets serious as we get older and it’s easy to forget to laugh, but if we can take a moment and make ourselves laugh, we can contribute greatly to our mental and physical well-being.
May 6 is the International Day of Laughter but it is certainly not the only day to celebrate this mentally, physically and socially advantageous phenomenon. As Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
Teaching kids day in and day out is a rewarding career, and many teachers will tell you that they love their job. After all, as a teacher you get to make a direct impact on the kids that you teach, and hopefully instill some values in them that they otherwise might not get. On the other hand, teaching a classroom of kids can also be quite stressful. We all know there are always a handful of students who will make your job a little more challenging than you expected. The key is in knowing how to reduce your classroom stress, and refocus your students on the lesson at hand. Here are 10 things that you can do to reduce stress in your classroom today.
1. Add laughter to your classroom.
Laughter is good medicine. It tends to unplug stress in you and your students, and gives your students a sense of togetherness, as they have your sense of humor in common. There is a delicate balance to adding laughter to the classroom and having that laughter get out of control, so be ready to bring your students back into focus quickly.
2. Build self-esteem in your students.
Students who suffer from a low self-esteem will sometimes opt themselves out of even trying to learn in the classroom. If they live in a home environment where all they hear is that they are stupid, they will start to believe this, and the effort will dwindle. Try some activities that help build a child’s self-esteem, such as looking for ways that students can have leadership roles in the classroom, talk to students one-on-one and show an interest in their work habits, and incorporate easy questions into tests, in-between harder questions, so students with a low self-esteem can feel good about their answers.
3. Provide effective discipline measures.
When dealing with the topic of discipline in your classroom, you should have effective discipline measures. You may have rules for behavior in your classroom, but may quickly come to find that not every rule works with every child. You have to learn what discipline strategies work for different students. This will make the classroom less stressful. For instance, sitting in the back of the classroom may work for “Johnny” because he doesn’t like the negative attention that is drawn to him, while it won’t for “Jake” who thrives as the class clown. Perhaps giving “Jake” an extra writing assignment will work best for him.
4. Add creative movement to your classroom.
When it looks like your class is about to get out of control, come out of the blue with a movement exercise that will get them out of their seats for a moment or two. You might be surprised at how much better they will listen when they sit back down. Quick movement exercises might include: ” 10 jumping jacks ” Quick jog around the classroom ” Deep breathing exercise It can be anything that just gets the body moving for one to two minutes.
5. Keep paperwork organized.
As students are handing in their homework assignments, tests, permission slips, and other classroom paperwork, have them write the number that corresponds to their number in your grade book in the top right corner on their papers. This will save a lot of time in keeping your paperwork organized.
6. Post a Top-10 List.
Keep students motivated to keep their attention on lesson plans by developing a Top-10 list every week. Simply post the top 10 students in your class for the week based on their test/quiz scores, consistency in handing in homework on time, participation in class, and any other factors you want to keep track of. The reward for being on the Top-10 list for a given week can mean that those students can choose their own seats or have a free night of no homework the following week.
7. The Scrolling Marquee Technique.
If you want to reward those students who are well behaved in your class and set an example for other students to follow, try this unique method. Set your classroom computer to a marquee screensaver and display a child’s name who is doing well in class. Change the name every day. Kids will be wanting their name to be on the computer, too.
8. Use hand signals.
Nothing distracts a class more than interruptions. The use of hand signals is a popular method among teachers to communicate with students without interrupting the class. Simply have students raise their hands to answer a question as usual. If a student needs to use the bathroom, they can raise their forefinger in the air. If they need to get a tissue, they can raise two fingers. You can come up with your own system, but it works well. To answer the child you can shake your head “yes” or “no,” and that will be the end of it.
9. Incorporate “Do Now” activities.
In order to keep kids focused during class, take five minutes to have them perform a “Do Now” activity. This is where you write a quick assignment on the whiteboard. It can be an assignment that reviews a past lesson, or whatever you want. Give the students five minutes to complete the assignment, while you time them. It will help you assess your student’s knowledge of a lesson, and it gives them an incentive to get the work done.
10. Make an attitude adjustment.
When you feel yourself becoming stressed in the classroom, try to think of the situation as a challenge. Keep a positive attitude and realize that you cannot control everything that happens in your classroom, but you can react to situations proactively. Students will eventually follow your lead when they are in your room.
Copyright © Worksheet Library – All rights reserved.