The beauty of laughter is we can all do it at any given moment in time. Why don’t you laugh now just for fun? I’m serious.
Stop reading, and just laugh. If it helps, think of something funny. But you will find that by forcing yourself to laugh it sounds so ridiculous, it’s actually funny and makes you laugh more.The laughter yoga movement basically works on this premise (in my limited but joyful experience of laughter yoga anyway).
I must admit, I do see a lot to laugh at in life. I see the ridiculous in the simplest things. My brother once told me he loves talking to me because I laugh at everything he says and that makes him feel really funny. But despite the hardships, I do think life is pretty darn funny.
For many years now I have deliberately chosen to watch comedy shows rather than dramas on TV. I enjoy dramas, but during a particularly difficult period of illness about 15 years ago, I found that watching dramas and even many reality shows made me feel even more depressed that I already was.
When experiencing depression our minds tend to focus more on negative things anyway, and I found watching the serious shows where bad stuff happened just drew me further down into the mire of depression. Whereas watching comedies distracted me from my woes, took me out of my negative thinking (even for a few minutes) and the laughter also kicked in a few endorphins as a bonus.
Norman Cousins became famous for curing himself of a supposedly incurable illness by watching continuous comedy shows, reading comedy and laughing himself to health.
Laughter has actually been shown to have a huge number of health benefits including reducing stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and increasing the number of disease – killing cells such as gamma – interferon. Laughter helps the pituitary gland produce its own pain suppressing opiates called endorphins. A good article that goes further into this can be found here.
For me, laughter is, for the most part, a form of distraction from pain (consideringwatching comedies on television causes me pain so I need the distraction ;-)). But I do find the joy I get from my fave comedy shows is worth it. There’s an immeasurable boosting of the spirit that comes from a good laugh, and seeing we often don’t have much to laugh at when we have CFS or electrosensitivity, seeking out funny movies, TV shows, podcasts and other internet based comedy material is our best bet for a good belly laugh.
If you’re game, you can also try laughter yoga. It’s great. For some simple laughter exercises check out Laughteryoga.org.
What gives you a good laugh? Leave a comment below and let us know especially if it’s a podcast or TV show we could check out. Or maybe a Youtube video?