It’s tough to maintain your sense of humor when you’re in pain, recovering, cooped up — or giving care to someone who’s dealing with these challenges. But using humor as a coping technique can defuse stress, brighten your general outlook and enhance your overall health.
Laughing at life’s difficulties (or at least smiling at them) can help you see situations from a different perspective and keep things from overwhelming you. An article from one stress-reduction website has some great suggestions. Here they are in a nutshell:
- Smile. Smiles are contagious – in a good way. Smiling, even faking it, actually releases stress-reducing endorphins in your brain, and has the same effect on everyone in the room.
- Try a different point of view. When you look at your situation from an observer’s perspective, it’s easier to recognize what’s funny. You can almost see yourself in a sitcom, and the scenarios can become hilarious. This is called “re-framing,” and it works.
- Hang with funny friends. You know who they are – you just see each other and start giggling, even when you’re sharing your frustrations.
- Make it a game. Keep score. Count up the same potentially frustrating event every day or week. You can begin to value repetitive situations you can’t control instead of letting them upset you.
- Watch funny shows and movies. Many popular comedies take irritating situations that everyone recognizes and amplify the silliness.
- Read witty books. Comics who write, authors who capture the absurdities of life and casts of silly or self-absorbed characters all inspire laughter. Make a reading list, get ideas from friends or online.
- Stretch with Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga International describes laughter exercises that are the basis for this form of yoga. Practitioners say that it lowers stress and promotes emotional balance.
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