Discovering how laughter helps clear both fear and tears helped me to appreciate life!
When financial fears, fed by uncertainties you can’t control, make you anxious and tearful – you can can feel stuck. You can freeze. You don’t know what to do. It helps to decide to laugh rather than cry when the bank statement lands. Whatever kind of month it’s been, it’s always a moment to take a deep breath, take stock and take some action. If fear and anxiety creeps up about pending credit card bills for that broken boiler, or the online course you invested in, call on all the immune boosting benefits of laughter!
On a cold grey day – literally or figuratively – it’s so easy to feel miserable. When the sun is hiding, the rain pours down and the bills keep on coming it’s so tempting to curl up under the covers and hide. Seasonal affective disorder or mild depression can make everything even worse. It lowers immunity, makes decisions harder to take.
So, as well as accepting that sometimes I just need to hibernate because my body is telling me to slow down and take a break – I also know I don’t want to slide down that funnel of funk and miserableness. It just gets harder and takes longer to get out again. I see it coming and I must decide – under the covers and cry, or ……..try to laugh.
On average, an infant laughs nearly two hundred times a day; an adult, only twelve. Maybe they are laughing so much because they are looking at us. – I Ching
Just watch this baby laugh as his dad tears up a job rejection letter.
It puts things in perspective, don’t you think?
Clear the fear of crying
I’ve often wondered how it is that some people seem to laugh their way through life, when others – like me – seem to need to cry, be oversensitive, and born to take life seriously. I know how easy it is to fall into a funk, and how hard it can be to stop sliding into negative self talk.
Whatever the cause, I have thankfully got through some tough challenges in life, any one of which would make anyone anxious! Like being treated for breast cancer and ending up with a hole in my guts. That took some dealing with. A lot of fears with tears till one day in the ICU, tubes everywhere, I found myself laughing at myself laughing at life. I was alive!
But old habits die hard and still when anxiety strikes I find my default is to try to talk myself out of it. Even though I know that overthinking a problem often just makes it worse, and every experience tells me that a solution will appear if I can only relax. Sometimes, even with a smiling Buddha statue sitting on the shelf, it’s just impossible to switch off!
But if I can start to laugh, the spell breaks and the tension goes. As though the clouds lift, the grey shifts to colour and the rainbow appears the problem becomes manageable.
I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable. — Viktor Frankl
That’s what’s Stephen does for me – helps me to laugh through the most fearsome storms!
Laughter is such good medicine that it is even an approved therapy! It’s positively infectious too.
Laughter therapy clears the tears
My first experience of organised laughing was at a pioneering “laughter workshop” in 1993. I’d been offered the opportunity to get some light relief from a stressful role in a children’s charity by attending a free “Laughter workshop”. It was led by Robert Holden who was working on his PhD in psychology and had laughter therapy as his topic. It was hard for serious me to break the ice by recalling something funny on the way to the event, but by the end of the session I was in stitches – especially lying on the floor listening to the laughing policeman. Me? Laughing? That was so funny. And the memory is still strong and Dr Holden went on to spread laughter throughout the NHS and beyond.
Why not give laughter workshops a try? Or try some laughter yoga in the privacy of your own home?
Turn the corners of your mouth up, smile, then laugh – even if it feels forced. Push the air out – ha ha ha – go on, try …. ha ha ha
Then, once you’ve had a little chuckle, check out how you’re feeling.Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel a little lighter? A little more relaxed?
You’ve probably just experienced the natural healing wonder of a little laughter. But, there’s more to it than that! Because laughter can do so much more than just make us feel better in the moment.
Science has shown that it can actually strengthen our immunity – at least, it can if we can manage to laugh continuously for 20 minutes or more!
That needs practice! Which is where laughter yoga comes in. If you want to know more, why not delve into “Laughter Yoga” and discover how to combine mind, body and breath in an exercise practice that can do wonders for clarity, mentality and immune health?
Laughter yoga online and at home
Here’s a neat little set of six laughter yoga practices you can try. My favourite is pointing your finger at yourself.
Or, for a deeper approach, check out Dr Madan Katria, the Laughter Guru.
Or love and enjoy an Aussie smile
why laughter is so good for you
how to laugh at yourself
how much laughing time to get most benefit
I hope you’ll enjoy laughing a little more!
And then, stress released by laughter, you can face the fears.
Look for solutions. Take action.
Deal with the bills. Take another path.
I did. You could.
And if you want, I’ll tell you what I did. You know how it works – sign up here if you’d like to get our emails. If you like them, stay.
Do whatever makes you smile!
Tell us what makes you smile and write your favourite laughter yoga takeaway in the comments below.