Stress and anxiety not only permeate your mind, but they have a physical manifestation within your body. Muscles tense, the jaw clenches and shoulders ache under tension.
But this…Humour affects the autonomic nervous system by encouraging laughter which causes the body to slip into deeper breathing. This in turn relaxes the body’s muscles and calms the sympathetic nervous system from the adrenalized ‘fight or flight’ response to the more sedate parasympathetic nervous system driven state of calm. Thus, humour physically relaxes away stress and anxiety.
Humour can be used to relieve tension and find more enjoyment in daily life.
Humour is, of course, the one thing that fear cannot abide: Laughter banishes anxiety, and can help replace fear. Laughter is a testament to courage, or at least a manifestation of the wish for it, and courage is stronger than fear. We need a strong and healthy dose of focused humor in our lives every day.
Stress and anxiety are internally focused phenomena. How something is going to affect you. How you will deal with something. Whether you made the right choice. Humour is a masterful way of distracting you from yourself. For a time, your attention is diverted to the larger joke at hand or focused on the comedy happening to someone else. Humour can lift your focus away from what is happening to you, essentially distracting you for a time from your stress and anxiety. This distraction, if applied often enough, can aid you by providing your ‘toolbox’ with another coping strategy for those times when stress and anxiety overwhelm you.
Humour becomes the catalyst that diffuses the inner, emotional tension. Brings us closer as humans, transgressing the limitations imposed by our worries and anxieties. Humour shows us that we are all the same, we experience life in a similar way and we can laugh about our ills and life the same way. Laughter brings us closer to what it means to be human, fundamentally laughter is the very precursor to love.
Why Humor: To introduce more humor into your life, you need to expose yourself to more laughing matters. A good way is to build your very own laughter treasure chest which you can draw on whenever you need a funny idea or a happiness boost. But instead of gold bars, rubies, diamonds and rare antiques, you will have humorous books such as this, comics (like this one), funny movies, newspaper cuttings, tear-off from magazines, jokes, self-concocted stories and anything else that crack you up in your chest.
If you prefer a digital treasure trove of laughter, simply substitute all the above-mentioned items with their digital equivalents. Good online resources you can put in your e-library include Comics.com, Youtube’s Comedy Channel, JibJab, NYT’s Laugh Lines Blog and Awkward Family Photos.
How to Laugh More: Access your treasure chest at least three times a week, twenty minutes each time.
Swap your fault-finding detector with a humor-locating radar. Pay attention to chances for chuckle instead of opportunities for trouble. Keep an eye for funny moments and you will start to see more of them in your life. Want to bring your humor radar to the next level? Try picking up hidden comic relief during challenging times, such as a face-to-face meeting with your biggest foe. Be very cautious though!
The often used excuse for the lack of humor in life is, there is simply no time for something as trivial as laughing. But since you know that laughing is a potent antidote to chronic stress, then you may as well make time for laughter, just like the way you’d allocate time for sleeping, eating and working.
Just say cheese (or kimchi for the vegans) to yourself and hold it for a minute or two. You will instantly push your happiness marker a few notch higher and downgrade your stress and anxiety level correspondingly. For better results, do a comic face by pulling your mouth, nose and eyes in opposing directions, all at the same time. Want to learn advanced face-deforming tricks? Look no further than face contortionists like the ever so funny Mr. Bean for inspirations.
British cartoonist- Gemma Correll, has a large part of her work deals with finding humor in her struggles with clinical anxiety and depression.
I honestly think that humor can be a savior at times of distress, or if you just live with a constant level of anxiety and depression like I do
As it turns out, the human brain is wired to respond positively to laughter and smiles, generating ‘feel-good’ chemicals. The wiring is so strong that the brain responds even when we smile at ourselves in the mirror or simulate laughing with enthusiasm. You can even stretch your mouth into a smile shape by using a chop stick or a pen across the mouth to pull back the corners.
There is a complex reciprocal interaction between the body and the mind and what happens in one reflects in the other. If you change the quality of your thoughts, you will feel a change in body behavior. Conversely, if you bring a change in your body behavior you will experience a change of your mental state. All physiological functions are connected. Stress or relax one and you will stress or relax them all. In the bigger picture: Stress or relax your body, and you will stress or relax your head.
When we smile for example, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. Interestingly enough, this effect works both ways. The release of dopamine when we feel happy causes us to smile, and the mere act of smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which in turn makes us feel happy.
So find the Humour behind your stress and try to distress yourself. Remember, the real religion is transforming stress to humour.
When ever you feel doomed or sad or low …stand in front of a mirror and give a broad smile and hold for at least 2mins and you will see it will soon relief you.
Try, try …try once and FEEL THE POWER