We’ve all heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. And we all know the wonderful feeling we get after a good belly laugh. But can humor help our healing process, both emotional and physical? Yes, it can. Laughter can stop the painful hurting.
There is a lot of scientific evidence on the benefits of chuckling. It can help bring our bodies back into balance and lighten our negative reactions to the circumstances around us. Humor builds up our resilience and helps us in overcoming hardships. When we are giggling with others, it builds more intimate connections and enhances our relationships.
We get so much benefit from something free and fun. So why don’t we use it more to lessen our suffering? Because the ego likes to wallow and keep us from expanding ourselves.
Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy. ~ Catherine Rippenger Fenwick
What Happens When We Laugh?
From a physical perspective, many things happen to our bodies when we snicker. Our endorphins increase. This response means that feel-good chemicals are released into our bloodstream, and we feel a sense of well-being. And when you are feeling good, our stress levels plunge. We also have a reduced fight-or-flight response because our egoic minds see no threat, and we relax.
Our bodies respond by thrusting the brain into overdrive. Our immune systems are enhanced, blood pressure declines, and our pain tolerance increases. We tend to lose control of our bodies and sometimes cry. And laughter even burns calories!
Have you noticed that once we chuckle that we find more things humorous? The giggle-fest we have with friends benefits our relationship with them and increases our bonds with people we just met.
By the way, there are no negative effects of laughing—unless, of course, we wet ourselves.
If laughter cannot solve your problems, it will definitely DISSOLVE your problems; so that you can think clearly what to do about them. ~ Dr. Madan Kataria
What is the Science behind Humor?
Scientists have correlated laughing with elevating our pain threshold. We are thus lessening our negative feelings or symptoms of depression because the endorphins are making us feel happier.
When we allow humor into our lives, it helps us cope with the surrounding circumstances more easily. Chuckling brings us into the present moment, into the here and now. We are no longer depressed about the past or anxious about the future. By embracing humor, it puts us into a more positive mindset and allows joy to enter our daily lives.
Laughing with others reduces stress within the group, thereby decreasing disagreements and dissatisfaction within the group dynamics. The happy feelings we get from the physical act of giggling lingers long after the humorous event ends.
Maybe laughter won’t cure us of any illness. Still, it has a significant impact on elevating symptoms and improve our coping abilities. Thus, snickering can lessen the suffering our egoic minds put us through.
I know why we laugh. We laugh because it hurts, and it’s the only thing to make it stop hurting. ~ Robert A. Heinlein
How do we Use Laughter to Overcome?
Through our creativity, and we’re all creative, we allow our inner child to come out and play. It’s through this time of recreation that we laugh, and life is more enjoyable. But when we allow our egoic minds to impose limitations and keep us in a state of suffering, our ability to have fun diminishes.
When life seems overwhelming, fun is no longer a part of our daily lives. Research has shown that having fun makes us more creative and productive. It improves our health, decreases our stress level, and enhances our relationships. And, of course, having fun is a great way to boost your happiness.
When we are enjoying life, we solve problems faster and are more creative. This creativity means that when life brings its challenges, we are more adaptable because we can use our imaginations to resolve the issues. We can do this because humor takes us away from the stress of the circumstances and allows us to think differently.
Laughter is poison to fear. ~ George R. R. Martin
What are the Effects of Smiling?
When we smile, our body releases chemicals to reduce stress and increase positive emotions. Grinning relaxes the body, lowers our blood pressure, as well as our heart rate.
People respond more positively to someone with a grin than someone with a frown because our brain reacts to seeing that smiling face. It makes us look more relaxed and authentic. And everyone knows that smiling makes you more attractive.
Even when we force a smile or fake a laugh, it still has valuable benefits because our bodies respond as if it was genuine. So even a fake smile can trick us into being happier.
When you smile at another, that person smiles back at you. When you hold the door open for someone, they, in turn, keep it open for someone else. By giving to others, even in small ways, you have a positive influence and raise everyone’s expectancy to that of an encouraging nature.
A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~ Phyllis Diller
How to Develop a Sense of Humor
The most crucial element in creating a sense of humor is to release the egoic mind. The ego wants to take everything seriously. It’s looking for reasons for failings and a place to lay blame. But for us to develop resilience through humor, we need to laugh at our own missteps and idiosyncrasies. Despite our best efforts, we do irrational things. But instead of allowing our egoic mind to make us feel self-conscious and defensive, we can choose to see the humor by accepting ourselves and our imperfections.
I’m not saying that trauma falls into this category, but most of our daily lives don’t involve significant distress. Our ordinary lives allow us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves and our circumstances, even if they are disconcerting.
Share these times with others to help us take ourselves less seriously and help others see we are all human. Choose to laugh at ourselves instead of allowing the egoic mind to take over the narrative in our heads. Look for the irony in the situations we don’t like.
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~ Victor Borge
How to Add More Laughter into Our Lives
Remind ourselves to lighten up. Put something on our desk or wall that makes us beam. I have a baby Groot and The Child on my desk, and they both make me smile when I look at them. My husband collects funny memes that he shares to help lighten the mood.
Release our inner child to play regularly. Playing means we are having fun. We are enjoying what we’re doing. Losing time also occurs when you are playing or having fun. Whether you are writing, painting, or coding, creativity is necessary. It enables us to take ideas and make them an actuality. It’s how we make our vision or dreams and into our reality.
Read a funny book or comics. Or watch a comedy. It’s even more fun to share it with friends. Have a game night, or try karaoke. Laughter is contagious. And by helping ourselves to add humor into our lives, we help everyone around us too. So, share that joke you heard, or go to a comedy club. The more time we spend with funny people, the happier we all become.
We don’t laugh because we’re happy; we are happy because we laugh. ~ William James
Moving Forward through Laughter
Laughing relieves stress because our body secretes endorphins. This release creates positive benefits to us emotionally, physically, and socially.
Give ourselves daily reminders to lighten up and avoid the negative. Giggling is an excellent deterrent to stress. Smile at everyone we see because it makes us and them feel better and brightens everyone’s day.
Each day schedule something fun to do. Add this play to your self-care plan. Laugh every day. Giggling is fun. Chuckling is free. Snickering is easy to do. All this humor has no risk to us, but the benefits contribute to our happiness. Laughter can stop the painful hurting and create a positive outlook on life.
Laughter is the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug. Laughter is a universal medicine. ~ Bertrand Russell
As we become more conscious of adding more laughter into our lives, we can stop the painful hurting caused by our egoic mind and become more resilient.
Do you need support to help you move from pessimism to optimism? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please contact me, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.