This article is from Career Exchange (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Feeling a little bit low? Try laughing more! The term “laughter is the best medicine” is often touted a lot, but upon looking into the benefits of how it can help you feel better and get you back on track during times of stress it is definitely worth taking seriously. Several research claims cover how laughing is beneficial to your physical health, including improved blood flow, immune response, endorphin levels and sleep quality; but what about mental health?
Here are 3 ways that laughter can benefit your wellbeing:
1. Laughter dissipates distressing emotions – Rather than expressing negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness, people often store their negative emotions. But laughter is a perfect way to let those negative emotions go. In short, laughter is very much cathartic. An example of this is when you are feeling stressed or upset; you watch a funny movie so you can laugh away negative emotions. After you watch the movie, you realise you are no longer pent up with negative emotions.
2. Humour changes perspective – Laughing helps you see events in a more realistic and less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance and this can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. More and more mental health professionals are suggesting ‘laugh therapy’ which teaches people to laugh openly at things that are not usually funny and to cope with difficult situations by employing humour. (Just don’t laugh openly at a client’s issues!)
3. Laughing helps learning and creativity – Daniel Goleman, psychologist, noted that laughter seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely. Listening to jokes or even working out a new punch line for a pun activates different areas of the brain and keeps the brain on its toes. In short, you tend to be more innovative and flexible.
Now that you know that laughter works wonders on your mind, how do you bring more laughter in your personal life or workplace? Here are 3 simple ways to make a head start on developing a healthier mind:
1. Create opportunities to laugh. This is easier than it seems, and just requires a little kick and reminder when you’re going through stressful times. Host a game night with friends or work colleagues. Share a good joke or funny story with others. Visit a comedy club for your next team outing. Attend a “laughter yoga” class, or ever better – run one in the workplace! Play with a pet. Check out the humour section of the bookstore. Make watching funny cat videos a daily habit.
2. Try laughing at events instead of lamenting them. No one likes a grouch or sourpuss that takes everything too seriously and never laughs at anything. Some situations in life are clearly sad and not meant for laughing but there are also situations that fall into a grey area, giving you the choice to laugh. Look for the humour in a situation and uncover the irony and silliness of life. Slowly, you will find the humour in everyday events and you will generally develop a brighter perspective.
3. Surround yourself with funny and playful people. This is probably the easiest way to find laughter. These people are walking reminders to lighten up your day. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious; stick with them in every chance you get and you will feel more energised and ready for new challenges.
Incorporating more laughter into both your personal and professional life can have numerous benefits, so make an effort and start today! If you have any advice or examples of lightening up the environment around you during stressful times, we’d love to hear them!