Hang in there! You can do it! Chin up, Buttercup! Sure, the internet beholds many positive quotes and memes for encouraging personal perseverance. There are many that are well worth the chuckle, but at the same time very true. During times of stress, laughter is a quick way to “pick-me-up-put-on-a-smile.”
Laughter has both short-term and long-term effects. In fact, it actually induces physical changes in your body. According to the According to the Mayo Clinic, laughing can:
- Stimulate your organs. By increasing your intake of oxygen-rich air, you are stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and kicking up endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A good belly laugh revs up and cools down your stress response which can leave you relaxed.
- Soothe tension. Laughter stimulates circulation and helps with muscle relaxation.
- Improve your immune system. Laughing produces “feel good” neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction.
- Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations like parenting—and help you connect with other people.
- Overall improvement of mood. Laughter can help decrease possible depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
Laughter also works through a psychological phenomenon known as ‘facial feedback.’ This basically means the mere gesture of smiling literally causes your emotions to follow suit. Once you pull back a smile, you’re more likely to experience feelings that are typically associated with it (e.g., good mood, happy, jovial, etc.). The fact that laughing is contagious means that you can essentially cause it to take over every part of your body. Finally, laughing is infectious and it tends to draw others into a good mood, too.
As parents, we are blessed to have instant comic relief with our children. Children always give us a reason to smile or laugh, it’s just important for us to stop and relish in it and reap the health benefits.
The Parenting Hub would love to hear how you remedied a stressful parenting situation with laughter. Please send your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stress Relief From Laughter–It’s No Joke