Earlier in May, we celebrated World Laughter Day which was inspired by the Laughter Yoga movement. It is based on the idea that your facial expression can affect your emotions. For instance, if you start to smile, you feel more positive – happier.
Try it now!
Most of us have a more serious face, maybe even a bit of a frown when we’re reading something. Now as you’re reading this, try putting a smile on your face. You don’t have to be smiling at anything in particular or thinking of anything funny. You can literally force a smile on your face and lo and behold, by smiling you will feel more positive! It’s that simple. Do you feel a lift in your mood? We certainly do. Amazing, isn’t it?!
For a real mood booster… start to laugh. It will feel forced at first but then, if you’re like us, you will be laughing for real. Even if you are only laughing because you feel silly right now! But that doesn’t matter because what matters is how you feel afterwards. Hopefully you feel more relaxed, more hopeful and have a greater sense of well-being. That’s what we want and that’s why it’s good to practice smiling and laughing, even for 5 minutes a day.
As we continue to give our best efforts to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19, you might think it’s hard to see what there is to smile or laugh about. But that’s the magic of it. You don’t need a reason. These are challenging times for everyone as we build up resilience. Managing our stress levels is vital to our ability to cope and laughter (or smiling) is another tool you can add to your toolkit.
Why laughter is good for you
- Laughter helps to release endorphins in the brain which boost your mood
- it helps to reduce stress hormones in the body and give you a relaxed feeling
- When you laugh you breathe in more oxygen which stimulates the heart, lungs and muscles
- Laughter can boost your immune system because positive thoughts can release neuro-peptides. These help you fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses
- You can’t beat sharing a laugh with someone to feel a great sense of connection. Connections like this are important to reduce our anxiety, loneliness or depression
You don’t have to be funny
But what if I’m not funny?Don’t worry, you don’t have to be funny and even if you are hilarious like a natural comedian – we all can’t be funny all the time. So instead, let’s use World Laughter Day to remind ourselves to put a smile on our faces more often and take 5 minutes a day to laugh by ourselves or with friends or family. Because we can never have too many mood boosters… or neuro-peptides!
When was the last time you laughed?
World Laughter Day is also a great excuse to think about the last time you laughed, really laughed. What made you laugh till you cried? Can you do it again? It’s time to root out your favourite comedy shows or dig into old photos with embarrassing haircuts or outfits – we want you to laugh till your stomach hurts! Then you can enjoy the benefits of feeling more relaxed and less stressed.