I mentioned in an earlier post to use a smile to reduce stress. The second of three ways to reduce or remove stress is to ratchet it up one notch. Laugh out loud. Laughter, forced or otherwise, reduces stress.
As mentioned previously, you can’t have a negative and positive thought in your brain at the same time. As such, if you can replace a negative thought with a positive one, then you have conquered the source of internal stress. The source of the stress might still be with you, but the effect of that stress on you will be reduced.
Many studies have been conducted on laughing and stress reduction. Laughing has both short-term and long-term health benefits. The first is to force the negative thought from your brain. The second is it stimulates your organs – heart, lungs, and other muscles. As such, it increases endorphins to your brain. Laughter causes a relaxed feeling throughout your body. It stimulates blood circulation and relaxes muscles.
Over time, laughter improves your immune system. Stress impairs your immune system. Removing that stress reduces that impairment. Neuropeptides, brought on by laughter, fight stress and reduce the risk of other potentially more-serious illnesses or diseases.
Your body creates natural painkillers as a result of laughter. As such, you may also experience a reduced level of overall pain. Laughing improves your satisfaction level. It allows you to cope better with those situations causing stress. Laughter has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety. As a result, you feel happier and less stressed.
I do a demonstration when talking about laughter and stress. Forced laughter can be turned on and off like a light switch. I get a huge, loud, belly-rolling laugh going for several seconds and shut it down instantly. Audience members who were causally laughing with me automatically begin to laugh more earnestly when I go completely silent.
The health benefit of reducing stress quickly can be enjoyed whether the laughter comes from a sitcom, hearing a joke, hearing other people laugh around you, or being tickled.
Laugh more and enjoy a healthier life.