LAUGHTER TO THE RESCUE!
When we are facing challenges laughter can be a super power. It helps us to feel stronger, more connected to others, and elevates us above our circumstances so we can deal with them with more confidence. And hey, it makes us feel better too!
It may seem counter intuitive but lifting our spirits by leveraging laughter in difficult times is one of the most empowering things we can do in order to deal with challenges more effectively.
A good chortle can make us feel fully human and inspire relief, buoyancy and a feeling of being bigger than anything that can happen to us. It all comes down to the intoxicating chemical cocktail laughter serves up to our brain and body.
Anthony Ackroyd delivers his workshop Stress Less Laugh More to Batyr, a preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people
1. Laughter Strengthens Us
You can try this one at home. A team of Swiss researchers conducted an experiment on pain perception in which they had people keep their hand in a bucket of ice water for as long as they could tolerate. The subjects who were laughing (at comedy films) during this experiment, thereby triggering the release of pain killing endorphins, were able to endure the ice water longer than non-laughers and even had better pain tolerance half an hour later and beyond.
But you don't have to give your pinky frostbite. Anytime you need a little extra resilience endorphin producing laughter will reduce physical, psychological and emotional pain and increase feelings of pleasure and wellbeing.
2. Laughter Connects Us
Laughter has been described as the shortest distance between two people. When we laugh oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel connected and close to other people, is released into our bloodstream. So laughter can take away the feeling that we are are dealing with our challenges on our own.
With a little laughter induced oxytocin pumping through our veins we feel a lot more connected to others and to the support they can give us in dealing with our issues. A laughter buddy is invaluable when the fertiliser hits the fan!
3. Laughter Elevates Us
Ever won a prize or received an unexpected gift? If so you may well have experienced a release of dopamine. Dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter that gives us a spark of joy and puts a spring in our step. Laughter triggers dopamine release by activating the reward centre in the brain, the good old nucleus accumbens. And we all love an activated nucleus accumbens, am I right?
When we feel rewarded our self esteem is uplifted. And from that elevated perspective the things that trouble us seem much more manageable.
So on those days when you need to rise to a challenge make sure you take time to laugh. You will feel stronger, more connected to others and elevated to a place where you have a more empowering perspective. Laughter is always there to come to your rescue so get your ha ha happening!
Jest Wishes, Anthony
CEO (Chief Enjoyment Officer) The Laughter Advantage
P.S. If you would like to find our more about my workshop Stress Less Laugh More and see if it's right for you or your organisation just click here!
© Anthony Ackroyd 2023