Learn Here If It Really Is Possible To “Laugh It Off” When You’re In Pain, Stressed, Or Ill
Modern medicine offers treatment and cures for almost everything that ails humans. Sometimes, however, the healing power of humor is overlooked. Pegasus caregivers in Santa Clarita and elsewhere know it really is possible to laugh it off when adversity strikes.
Humor is anything that amuses someone. Not everyone thinks the same jokes or incidents are funny. And not everything that’s funny makes everyone laugh.
Laughter is a natural reaction to hearing or seeing something funny. It’s an almost unconscious part of ordinary conversations and interactions. It’s also used to cover up embarrassing or uncomfortable moments.
Some individuals barely smile at what generates guffaws in others. But even mild amusement relaxes the body.
Laughter Releases Feel Good Messengers
Your body communicates with itself using neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers. All of your physical functions are affected by neurotransmitters. They also have a role in your psychological and emotional behavior.
Endorphins and serotonin are labeled “classical” neurotransmitters. Serotonin is known as the “happy” chemical and has a role in preventing depression. Neuropeptides are the other main group of neurotransmitters.
Neuropeptides provide pain relief along with a multitude of other functions that serve to prevent illness. Positive thoughts release neuropeptides. Humor and laughter generate positive thoughts.
Laughter also releases endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel good” chemicals that help reduce stress. They also have a role in reducing pain.
Laughter Relieves Pain Naturally
Opioids are man-made drugs that mimic the natural pain relief provided by endorphins. Those are drugs such as hydrocodone and fentanyl, which are available only by prescription. Illegal opioids include heroin.
Many individuals rely on opioids for pain relief. Laughter can’t replace them, but it can increase natural painkillers like endorphins. That’s beneficial for most individuals.
All this is to show that your mind and body are interrelated. Psychoneuroimmunology is the medical term for the influence of the mind in healing the body. Humor and laughter provide essential support to the mind and increase its mental and physical healing abilities.
Laughter can change brain chemistry and may stimulate the immune system. Fear and anger are put aside, at least temporarily, during laughter. Humor reduces the tension in a negative situation and enables you to cope better.
You inhale fresh air as you laugh. The increased oxygen in the air stimulates organs that include your heart and lungs. Your muscles relax, and your blood pressure decreases.
Use Laughter To Reduce Harmful Stress
Some forms of stress are good for you. That’s the kind you might feel when you’re excited about something. But most stress takes a toll on your health, especially when it’s chronic.
The so-called bad stress negatively affects how you think, how you behave, and how you feel. Stress tends to get worse if you don’t take action to relieve it. You can experience a range of health problems, some quite severe.
The best way to overcome stress is to eliminate the cause. That’s not always possible. Humor and laughter won’t solve all of your problems, but they do provide relief from stress.
If you or your loved one has a chronic disease, laughing can help reduce the accompanying negative feelings. It won’t cure the condition, but it gives you control over those feelings. Improving your emotional wellbeing with humor often leads to feeling better physically.
Sharing a laugh with someone creates a connection. That helps to reduce stress. A positive connection with others also:
- Takes your mind off your troubles, including health.
- Improves your outlook on life by helping you overcome negative feelings.
- Releases deep emotions that keep you from feeling well.
- Resolves conflicts and tension.
Humor serves to bring mind and body into better balance. That improves your quality of life and your wellbeing.
How To Laugh More
How can you strengthen your ability to laugh it off when you experience a stressful situation? Start with choosing to find the humor in as many situations as you can. Turn a stressful event into a funny anecdote when you describe it to someone else.
Laugh at your own imperfections and foibles. Place items that make you laugh where you can see them. Consider challenges as a way to exercise your imagination.
If you don’t have a pet, which can be a huge source of amusement, look at animal videos. Now that pandemic restrictions are easing, spend time with a funny friend. Find silly things to do.
Smile at everyone you meet. Even if you have a mask on, the smile will show in your eyes. You will both feel better.
Humor doesn’t have to come from an outside source. Thinking of something funny can bring a smile or a giggle. Studies have shown that your brain doesn’t know the difference and benefits either way.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our caregivers in Santa Clarita and our other locations provide assistance that meets every level of need. They are competent and always respectful, but they know the value of humor and finding occasions to laugh.