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Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Man and woman sharing a joke while walking along single beach
Image credit: photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.

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One of my favorite things to do is to laugh. I just love how it feels to experience that seemingly uncontrollable belly laugh that jars the body and the system and feeds my soul. It doesn’t matter what triggers it. 

My laugher could be triggered by:

  • Jimmy Fallon or Tina Fey.
  • A funny joke a friend tells.
  • My husband’s natural funniness.
  • Something I’ve done unexpectedly that makes me laugh at myself.
  • My dog, Keegan, running around with her squeaky toy shaking her head and booty.
  • Watching a child dancing, or how they bask in the little wonders of the world.

It just feels so delicious and there is no better emotional release, at times, than unabashed laughter.

Did You Have Your Daily Dose of Laughter?

Take notice, do you find yourself laughing often, or is this a rare occurrence? If laughter is uncommon, what may be standing in the way of your laughter, or the ability to find lightness in experiences?

We’ve talked before how tears are necessary and an amazing and important way of releasing pain, stress, or trauma. Laughter may be equally as important as a way of releasing distressing emotions. Our bodies may even crave laughter, even if we are not aware of it.

Laughter has been known to…

  • Lower stress.
  • Release endorphins to improve mood.
  • Heighten immunity.
  • Increase tolerance to pain.
  • Help enhance and or mend relationships.
  • Improve relaxation and sleep.

…be contagious.

Embracing the Silliness in Life

I feel blessed to have beings in my life that just make me laugh. I do believe that I have manifested this for myself since laughter is so important to me. If laughter is significant to us, it means that we may want to surround ourselves with people and experiences that allow us to laugh.

I do love to share deeply with those in my life and equally love to laugh with them. This for me creates balance. Just allowing ourselves to feel the joy, the silliness, the playfulness, and the levity in our experiences.

Laughter helps us roll with the punches that inevitably come our way. The power of laughter is unleashed every time we laugh. In today’s stressful world, we need to laugh much more.

Enda Junkins, LCSW, LMFT, BCD. Known as the Laughing Psychotherapist.

Seeking Out Our Inner Playful Self

If bouts of spontaneous laughter are few and far between, it might be helpful to be mindful of what we do find funny in everyday experiences. Or does life feel so serious that we have not found room for silliness, playfulness, or humor?

If we don’t know how to organically tap into our inner playful self, there are ways that we could explore what may help us to laugh.

Finding Your Funny:

Only we can identify what we find funny. If we don’t know what makes us laugh, we can take some time to connect and explore possible things that may help to bring out our laughter. If laughter never came naturally, we might need to do a little research to find our funny bone.

A few suggestions include: 

  • Do a silly dance, or sing karaoke with friends.
  • Watch a stand-up comic.
  • Enjoy a humorous television show.
  • One like Ellen DeGeneres.
  • A humorous sitcom.
  • Funny reality shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos.
  • Saturday Night Live.
  • Impractical Jokers.
  • Seek out romantic comedy movies.
  • Observe a child’s carefree abandon, or listen to a baby’s laughter.
  • Play with a pet, or watch funny animal YouTube videos.
  • Purchase a comical daily calendar.
  • Phone the friend that always makes you laugh.

 Don’t Let the World Steal Your Sense of Humor

Perhaps laughter was an essential part of our life, but laughter is infrequent now given what’s happening in the world. With all the devastation and division in our country right now, we might find it even more difficult to access laughter because of the dividedness in our country and the emotions that we experience related to this.

It is even more vital, however, that we find a way to access laughter because it may help us to more effectively cope when it feels really hard to do so.

No Kidding

For some of us, laughter is an easy, natural, organic experience. When we were little we may have been surrounded by people who often laughed and encouraged laughter, playfulness, and silliness.

For some of us, though, we may have instead been surrounded by people who were unhappy, depressed, filled with emotional pain, or anger, so laughter was rarely seen and certainly not encouraged.

We may have even heard things like, “What’s so funny?” Or “What are you laughing about?”

Or when we laughed, the body language, or a scowl, on a parent, adult, or teacher’s face may have communicated, “Stop laughing”. Because of this, we might have felt that our laughter was inappropriate, or unacceptable.

Laughing at Ourselves

Are you someone who can laugh at yourself when you do something, or don’t do something? Or instead are you someone who berates yourself?

When I talk about laughing at ourselves, I don’t mean making fun of ourselves, which is clearly shaming. I mean the light hearted, non-judgmental laughter like when we are looking for our sunglasses and discover them on top of our heads.

 Having a sense of humor about ourselves is linked to better moods. The ability to take life in stride, and not too seriously, can lead to a more optimistic outlook and finding more joy in each day.

If you’ve lost the laughter in your life or never had it to begin with, speaking with a trusted psychotherapist at Nassau Guidance & Counseling located on Long Island can help you to get in touch with your levity. Our licensed therapists have helped many people identify and work through the emotional obstacles that have stifled the enjoyment of the little things in life, and helped create a more optimistic outlook.

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