- Posted June 25, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
Reclaiming Your Laughter in a Toxic Environment
Even though so few laughs a day just doesn’t sound very fun, you might ask, “Well, so what, that’s life—it’s not any big deal. Life is a very serious matter.”
What would you say if I told you laughter is a most important matter—maybe life or death important? What if you could do the very ‘serious’ work of your life much better if you start reclaiming some of those laughs you’ve missed out on over the last few decades! What would you say to that?
Very, very serious scientists who study laughter are called gelotologists. It’s true! They, along with scientists and physicians have, for decades, studied the effects laughter has on the human body and their findings reveal that most of us could be doing ‘adulthood’ much more effectively if we simply lighten up.
Stress, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, anger and fear are all facts of our lives. The question is are we using the most effective means available to cope with these? How do you deal with these? Some of us just ignore that we might be affected by anything negative or disturbing. “What me, oh I am fine—just fine no problems, here!”
1 in 10 people and 1 in 4 women in the U.S. take anti-depressants. Over 28 million Americans have a drinking problem and 22 million Americans cope with life through abusing illegal drugs. All of these are forms of denial and avoidance, and none provide a permanent means for effectively coping with negative emotions which can harmfully impact our bodies and shorten our lives.
Here is the good news. We once knew how to neutralize negative emotions and powerfully cope with life’s challenges. When we grew up, we dismissed one of most powerful gifts we possess, the gift of laughter as being silly, childish and of no real importance to our ‘adult’ selves?
The laughter we are talking about here is Mirthful Laughter, which is laughter that arises out of joy or happiness triggered events. Human beings have the ability to intentionally pursue the creation of events that trigger mirthful laughter.
Over nearly 50 years, gelotologists and neuro-physiologists have determined that regularly including laughter in one’s life creates endorphins in our bodies which neutralize the cortizol and adrenalin which are released when we continuously immerse ourselves in fear-based emotions. Producing endorphins can: lower blood pressure—reducing the possibility of heart attacks and strokes, improve the function of the immune system blocking viruses and bacteria from entering cells, increase the body’s ability to heal, and provide pain relief 10 times more effective than morphine.
Astonishingly, studies also indicate that laughter and just anticipating that you will be laughing at some time in the future increases an overall sense of well-being increasing our intelligence and our capabilities to retain and process information. The most dramatic result to emerge from these studies is that the practice of increasing laughter in your life can extend your life! If you could improve your life by laughing, it might pay to begin mining everything for its laughter potential. Whenever anything occurs, regardless of how challenging and painful, there is something light in there, something that can make you lighten up.
Find ways to surround yourself with laughter through being with people who love to laugh and can make you laugh. Watch funny movies and videos, TV programs, You Tube videos, comedy performances, cartoons. Join a laughter yoga group or create one. Minimize contact with toxic negative people and situations that add stress to your life and help keep you from living a lighter life. Consult a trained professional to help you release any baggage that prevents you from lightening up.
Make laughter and happiness a habit now and not a deferred dream. It will change your life.