Begin by Smiling – The Mind Matters
By Patricia Lynn Belkowitz, C.Ht., EFT-CC“All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.” ~ August Wilson
Laughter improves the body, mind and spirit. If we can laugh at our troubles, we can create positive biochemical changes in our body which will help reduce feelings of depression or helplessness. When we laugh, we breathe more deeply, which fills our body with oxygen and improves our immune system. Our blood pressure decreases and endorphins and other natural pain-relieving hormones are released. We create a better state of mind and when we are in a better state of mind, we are able to think more calmly and clearly. Our entire body relaxes. We feel joy. Perhaps “laughter is the best medicine”.
In stressful situations, our body suffers. We create disease within our physical self. In fact, it’s been estimated that as many as 90% of doctor’s visits are for stress-related symptoms! The first symptoms may be headaches or chronic colds. If stress continues depression, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, sexual dysfunction and possibly cancer can result. The long-term effects of laughter release neuropeptides that help fight stress and improve your immune system. Laughter can ease pain by producing natural pain-killers and help you to cope with difficult situations.
Constant stress robs us of our sense of humor. It takes the fun out of life! When we are children, we laugh on average about 400 times in a 24 hour period. As adults, we only laugh about 17 times a day! What a tragedy!
You can bring more laughter into your life. A good way to begin is to smile. It’s the beginning of laughter and it’s contagious. Collect books and movies that are funny and the next time you’re feeling down, bring them out and laugh. Choose to surround yourself with happy and positive people. Be more playful in your daily activities. Give yourself some “laughter therapy” whenever you’re feeling down. As Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously!”
In my practice, I encourage my clients to lighten up. We focus on the positive aspects and the solutions which bring a sense of peace. Being able to laugh at yourself is an important step on the way to enlightenment…a state of acceptance and love for your true authentic self…including that part of yourself that laughs so hard your belly hurts! May your world be filled with love and laughter!