It’s probably been a long time since you were a kid and giggled about 30 times a day.
Nowadays, how often do you really laugh? Not just a titter, but an eye-watering, jiggling belly-laugh? It’s crazy to think that we may be so wrapped up in the seriousness of work and home and driving around to spontaneously laugh.
To be effective, it doesn’t matter what prompts the laughter. My husband guffaws when watching that awful show, Modern Family. Little did I know that this is a wise move because the secret to releasing stress hormones and improving blood flow to the heart, along with your mood, is a good, regular laughing session.
In fact, a 2016 literature review on the benefits of laughing noted that laughter reverses the stress response and people who laughed had decreased serum cortisol levels. Studied scientifically, laughter has been shown to impact serotonin and dopamine activity in the brain – aka the happy hormones.
Laugh your Tension Away in a Class
Laughter Yoga has now become a thing, mainly because adults are looking for more ways to reduce daily tension and anxiety. In it, teachers create improv games, breathing exercises and silliness to promote belly laughing.
There is no lying on mats in a pretzel pose or being still, and the key phrase is huffing out “ho ho, ha ha ha”. This may seem strange to perform, but it is a simulated laughter exercise that works to release tension. It’s also very easy to do for anyone.
A simpler way to get your regular chuckles is to call up a funny friend. One benefit of phone calls or coffee chats over digital messaging is: you can say a spontaneously funny thing that is totally ridiculous, as it doesn’t go past your ‘serious adult filter’.
No matter which way you have your laughter session—premeditated or on-the-fly—it’s freeing to let go of inhibitions and entertain childlike laughter. And why not? After all, children are always smiling, playing and having fun.