One day, my husband and I had a disagreement. It was safe to say we were not each other’s favorite people at the moment. I was home and upset. I decided I needed to get my mind off of the issue. I wanted to shake off those negative emotions. So I decided to watch a stand up comedy.
As I watched, I laughed and laughed until my belly hurt and I thought I was going to piss myself. I had a moment of awareness in that instant. I scanned my emotional self and realized that although the problem with my husband and I had not been resolved, I felt better. My mood lifted and I felt lighter. I felt more at peace and joyful.
I came to the conclusion that the laughter that was induced by the comedy I was watching was responsible for this. I felt happier from laughing. Intrigued, I decided to perform sort of an experiment.
I played the stand up from the beginning when my husband arrived from work. I knew he was not going to sit down, let alone with me, and watch the film willingly. I raised the volume loud enough so that it could be heard from the other rooms while simultaneously keeping the neighbors from losing their hearing.
I could tell he was still pissed off at me. I greeted him hesitantly and let him be, giving him time to cool off. I noticed as the film played that although he was not watching it, it caught his attention and he was listening.
I watched his stiff, rigid body soften before my eyes. He gradually began to unwind. His breathing slowed. He would turn to the screen periodically and eventually, sat right next to me to watch.
As the film went on, he watched and listened intensely, even allowing a chuckle to escape his lips from time to time. Before I knew it, he was not angry anymore. He turned to me and I’m pretty sure said “Okay, what do you want to eat?” kindly. We made up after that.
Laughter, although induced by the film, made us feel better. It lifted our spirits. It took our minds off of the issue at hand. It calmed us and brought us to a more rational, relaxed state. That tranquility provided us with the clarity we needed in order to realize that our dispute was not a big deal. Not only were we able to carry on with the evening, but we were both in better places mentally and emotionally.
There are many studies that show laughter has the capability to trigger endorphins (the “happy” hormone), relax the body, stop distressing emotions, help you reenergize, calm stress hormones, as well as ease anxiety.
As for physical benefits, laughter can bring down blood pressure, burn calories, raise the production of immune cells and infection fighting antibodies (improving resistance to disease), renew the lungs, as well as relaxing the muscles relieving tension.
Laughter is so powerful that different establishments have been created in order to receive those benefits. There are laughter clubs, which is defined as a group of people gathering to practice laughter. There is laughter yoga, which is basically yoga and a laughter club combined. There is even laughter therapy, where patients in the hospital are presented with humorous activities to revitalize their bodies and spirits. Some medical professionals also make the effort to make their patients laugh because they know that it will improve the patient’s well-being.
So the next time you’re not feeling so hot, laugh. Find reasons to laugh. Watch a stand up comedy like I did that evening. Watch a funny video on YouTube or play your favorite comedic film. Call or hang out with a funny friend. Go to a comedy club. Play with your pet, tickle your kids (don’t kill them in the process). Your mental, physical and spiritual self will thank you for it later.