Laugh In the New Year!

Humor, smiling and especially laughing are good for you. You can practice smiling, and you can laugh for no reason at all, according to pioneers in “laugh-therapy.” Smiling can begin your laughter, and because it is very contagious laughing is a wonderful way to connect, bond, and find camaraderie with others.

The benefits of laughing can include stress relief, pain relief and even a solution to conflict. Laughter neutralizes distressing emotions and can help you relax in order to focus on problem solving. When you laugh, things do not seem as bleak. It is hard to feel anxious, cranky or blue when you are laughing. The good feelings you get from laughing can stay with you even after the laugh has ended.

Besides the benefits of resting, relaxing, and recharging, humor and laughter help you shift perspectives and be more  upbeat as you view and assess a situation. Seeing the positive and humorous side of things can give you a bit more realistic distance from your problems. Finding the comical will relieve physical tension, and help you maintain a more balanced outlook.

Doesn’t this sound great? Yes, but….

You might wonder how you are going to laugh when you really feel sad, depressed or you are struggling in the midst of a serious life problem. Good question.

Finding the humor and the laughter is not about denying the emotions you experience in life, but rather about attempting to find a more realistic, balanced view that includes a lighter side. When you can see the whole view, as best you can, you will be better able to deal with the difficulties.

When I was going through a divorce many years ago, my mother and I played endless games of scrabble during which I moaned and cried and complained. It was tough for both of us, but mother and I  also found a lot of ways to laugh as we competed for the biggest  word, and fantasized about the book we would someday write about this difficult time.

Now that someday we imagined is here, and I have actually written the book.

In my book, Soul Mothers’ Wisdom/Seven Insights for the Single Mother,”  I credit my mother’s wonderful funky sense of humor with helping me through a very scary time. The book will be published sometime this year. Although none of the chapter titles are the ones my mother and I made up, the laughter we shared helped me to heal, and gave me the idea to “someday” write about my experience, and hopefully to help other single mothers.

I have heard some people say they, “Fake it ’til you make it!” Laughter isn’t fake, although sometimes you might feel you are faking. But, according to the experts in brain science, even the “faking” has helpful benefits.

And you can make it.

Humor, smiling, laughing, seeing the brighter side, the funny side, the odd side, can help you find new sources of meaning and hope; help you find emotional distance from a problem, and actually help you stay healthy, even in the most crazy times.

There are indeed amazing health benefits to laughter and you do not have to use moderation!  But you do need to be

sure you get your daily ration.

Try it. You’ll like it!

About the Author:

Bette J. Freedson is a clinical social worker, practicing in Southern Maine. She is also the author of many articles. Bette’s first book, “Soul Mothers’ Wisdom/Seven Insights for the Single Mother,” is available at Pearlsong Press.

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