We’ve all heard laughter is “good for the soul.” Your soul meaning, your mind, will, and emotions. From day to day, there is so much to do and so much to worry about. What do I need to do today? Where do I need to go to get these things accomplished? Whom do I need to spread my undivided attention to today? What happens if I don’t get these things done? What will happen tomorrow…next week…next month? Woulda, shoulda, couldas. All of this is a foundation of fear and anxiety, which induces stress. When stress is present that means a biological impulse and/or an instinct in your body has provided a warning that something is not right, and you need to respond. When you don’t respond and that stress keeps building, that essentially has an emotional, mental, and physical impact. Mentally and emotionally, you may be more on edge, restless, irritable, and nervous. Physically, you’re getting frequent headaches, shoulder tension, muscle aches, an onset of medical conditions, or worsening of pre-existing ailments. Thus, you may experience decreased ability to concentrate, changes in your normal routine, and lack of desire to do things you normally love. Most importantly, you may not have laughed in a while.
When we laugh in those stressful moments, there is a quick release of that heavy load. When we laugh, endorphins in our brains fires off new and different signals. When we laugh, our state of emotions go from worried and anxious to happy and joyful. When we laugh, that negative thought and concern becomes irrelevant in that moment. When we laugh, we are mindful of the here and now. When we laugh, that tense facial expression loosens up to a smile. That smile is radiant, and that laugh is contagious.
Laughter is something that seems so easy in the moment, right? Why can’t it be simply applied in those times of stress or even in those moments of what feels like the darkest place, when we experience emotions such as grief or loss? The thought of losing something or someone is nerve wrecking in itself. In those times where there is fear of loss and/or death, laughter can manifest a different perspective.
A perspective of gratitude. Gratitude is honoring the things that are right in front of you, despite the circumstances.
A perspective of dialectics. Dialectical thinking is the concept that two opposing things can be true at the same time.
Example: The thought of loss or death is unsettling and sad.
I can be happy and laugh at the same time.
This ultimately leads to a point of acceptance.
A perspective of reflection as in taking advantage of the usefulness in reminiscing of past experiences and feelings. During the grieving process, you are going through many different stages (i.e. denial, anger, bargaining, depression). There’s not just one linear motion to this process. So, using laughter throughout these stages can come from positive imagery, talk of “good times”, positive thoughts, and good memories. The power of laughter in these moments just may be Good For The Soul!