Did you ever notice that sometimes it is hard to find anything funny, especially when you are feeling down? With overwhelming daily routines and personal pressures, having a good ole’ belly laugh while feeling stressed out and bogged down is easier said then done, right?
Maybe not, psychologists now say that even one minute of forced laughter is as mood enhancing as real laughter. Since the body does not know the difference between genuine and pretend laughter it naturally releases endorphins, the stress reducing hormones that make you feel good.’ Similarly, the relatively new concept of Laughter (Hasya) Yoga started in India in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria focuses on the same premise that laughter can in fact be independent of humour and still have therapeutic benefits. By teaching the body certain breathing techniques, simple stretches and Ho Ho Ha Ha chants, students reap the undisputed health benefits that laughter provides, by reducing stress, boosting the immune system, relaxing muscle tension, lowering blood pressure and oxygenating the blood, just to name a few.’
Finding humour and laughter in difficult and stressful times is indeed challenging. However, laughter may be the best coping mechanism we have to get us through tough times. When my mom had terminal Cancer, she insisted there could not be any doom and gloom around her and so the very best medicine we could give her and ourselves was humour and laughter. In such a helpless, horrible situation there is only two things you can do, feel sorry and cry or enjoy your last moments together with laugher, the very best emotion there is. By finding humour in the most dreadful of situations you shift focus and bring about a much needed dose of normality, unite with those you care about, and feel a little better.
Here are a few tips to help you bring laughter to the surface during tough times.
-Find humour in all things. Recognize the absurdity or ridiculousness of situations and circumstances.
-Laugh at yourself. Be a little silly, over-exaggerate your simple mistakes, embellish a few of your shortcomings
-Be spontaneous. The element of surprise is priceless, improvise and act on the unexpected
-Do humour related activities. Watch funny movies, read a funny book or play a funny game
Finding humour in the least of funny of situations can be very empowering, it teaches us to shift perspective, relinquish negative energy, heal the ailing spirit, and connect with others. Make a conscious effort to bring more humour into your daily life and you will be more inclined to tap into your funny side when you need laughter most. Laughter is not just an expression of happiness but an essential value for personal development.
‘Even fake laughter is good medicine. April 1, 2003. http://www.theage.com
‘Dr. Mandan Kataria Official Website, http://www.Laughteryoga.org
Rhonda Chapen Winterbach is a Personal Development Coach and Educator. She specializes in Thirtysomething women. Visit [http://www.rhondachapencoaching.com]