‘You may not be able to change the situation that caused you stress, but you can change your reactions. Looking for the silver lining, seeing humour in your predicament, or regarding the situation as a test of your faith are all ways that you can manage your emotions and get through even the most stressful hassle. ‘ Susan Karauss Whitbourne
Have you ever thought about how laughter can reduce stress? As an undergraduate student of psychology, I decided to do my final year dissertation on the psychology of humour, and how humour and laughter can be used to achieve all kinds of serious benefits.
It was a big challenge as at the time, as there wasn’t a great deal of research into this positive emotion, in comparison to more negative emotions such as anger and depression. In the end, I had to do some primary research with a group of friends which helped me come to some interesting conclusions to support the hypothesis that humour and laughter are important tools in our resource box.
Over the years since, more and more data has been published, supporting the compelling argument that we should encourage more laughter in our lives.
Sohere’s how laughter can reduce stress. Laughter releases endorphins which generate a sense of wellbeing and a positive mindset. Similarly laughter decreases stress hormone levels and allows your body to automatically relax. In fact, research suggest that a good, hearty laugh relieves muscle tension and psychological stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterwards!
I’m sure we’ve all been in many stressful and difficult meetings when a witty member of the team makes everyone laugh. Instantaneously, this has the amazing effect of changing the dynamic, defusing conflict, easing the tension in the room and repairing and promoting relationships.
So with so many benefits, let’s consider how you can incorporate more laughter in your life:
1. Surround yourself with light and happy reminders. Frame your favourite joke, or picture that makes you smile, and keep it in easy sight
2. Pay attention to children and imitate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly and laughing.
3. Make time for fun, laughter-inducing activities. Watch a comedy, go to see a stand-up, share a funny story or joke, read funny books and simply do something silly just for the fun of it!
So there we have it, three key things that can help you incorporate more laughter in your life.
This article is an extract from my new book now available on an easy download from Amazon.
‘Success without Stress:
How to Prevent Burnout and Build Resilience for Optimal Health & Performance’
Now available On Amazon