The Science of Why Laughter is Good for Us
Laugh Your Heart Out
You know that feeling when you start laughing and you KNOW it's not going to relinquish any time soon? All of a sudden you're doubled over with your hands clenching your stomach, gasping for air because God forbid your brain actually give into your desperate pleas for cease-fire.
Then, when you finally calm down a little, you begin the next stage of the madness: "giggle attacks." You know, when you're physically incapable of halting your laughter for more than 2.5 seconds and then out of nowhere a violent convulsion of laughter erupts with no warning?
And it always happens when it is least convenient! Like sitting in class when your professor is lecturing on a topic as fascinating as dryer lint. Or when you see a hilarious cat picture on the internet and your boss is looking at you suspiciously because you started busting up laughing out of nowhere.
Laughing makes us feel good! It's as if a small fire is lit inside of us and no matter what may be going on in our lives at that moment, we just feel unstoppable! Our souls are on fire, and nothing stands a chance of bringing us down.
A Laughing Matter
Countless medical professionals insist that laughing is extremely beneficial to our health. Much like a workout, laughing makes us move. When we move, our heart rate increases, and when our heart rate increases, we receive more oxygen to the parts of our body that need it most. Not only that, but laughing is also shown to promote a rise in infection-fighting antibodies and increase your levels of immune cells. So, if you're feeling sluggish and on the verge of puffy-eyed, stuffy nose delirium, watch a funny movie and howl your rear end off.
Aside from the physical health benefits, it is our soul that drinks the most from the almighty fountain of laughter. Being in the company of good friends and family is what makes us feel good. Feeling connected to others is what lifts our spirits, puts a spring in our step, and shines some appeasing light into our lives.
Groan, Grumble, Laugh
Laughing is also great when you're having a horrible day! Take for instance, ahem, today. I woke up, got ready for work, and was genuinely looking forward to the day ahead of me. My hair combed the right way, my chin was held high, and my whole-wheat toast wasn't burnt.Everything was going so well that I pinched my arm just to make sure I wasn't caught up in a really good dream at 2:30 in the morning. Nope - wide awake. So I shrugged my shoulders, pulled on my favorite boots, and headed out to my car.
As cold as it was this morning, I knew my car probably wouldn't start up right away. I turned the key, the radio screeched on, but the engine didn't turn over. Figures. I tried it again. Nope. AND AGAIN. Nothing. And at that moment, I knew my day was shot straight to Hell. I let out a long sigh, bowed my head, and called the towing guy ($$).
From my house, we had my car taken to the mechanic ($$$), and based on the information I provided to him, he said it was most likely the battery, alternator, or the starter ($$$$$$$$$$$). Okay, so I'm overreacting a tad. But wouldn't you if you've forked over more money in repairs than what your car is inevitably worth? It is certainly not a reason to jump up and kick your heels together.
So, after the lovely day I've had, I know that the best thing for me to do is take a step back, close my eyes, and inhale deeply. And then, laugh. Find humor in all the glorious garbage that comes with adulthood. Whether it is amusement in the fact that everything in my car worked except for my engine, or that I have invested more money in repairs than what I could sell my car for. Laugh it off.
Because the truth is, the beautiful moments in life will not shine nearly as bright if there were not bad days to compare them to.
What Gives You Belly Laughs?
From the list below, what is the one thing/person that can always give you a good laugh?
Humility - A Grounded Soul
Being humble and exhibiting modesty is a virtue. While egos control much of civilized society, those who exude humility not only set their own souls free, but they set free the uncertainty of others - when you show that you are human, others will admire your grounded soul and your willingness to poise yourself emotionally bare.
When a person is able to stand fourth in front of others with no walls or barriers, they are not showing weakness, but rather commendable purity. Humility is a trait that is learned and one that takes practice.
Ways to Show Humility
- Apologize – Even when we know we're wrong, it's very difficult to say sorry. It's pretty simple; apologizing is admitting that you made a mistake one way or the other. But think about it: when someone has apologized to you, didn't your whole attitude toward them change?
You instantly felt a dawning of respect for them because they stepped down from their towering stance and admitted that they were wrong. Humility is apologizing now matter how challenging it may be.
- Accept an apology – Ever been in a situation where you were wronged by someone close to you and after all of the heated arguments have subsided, they apologize? Then you stand there with your arms crossed thinking, “Okay, they apologized. But they hurt me! I can’t accept their apology because it’s like I’m condoning their wrongful actions! I need to teach them a lesson by standing strong.” That, my friends, is wrong.
Be humble and accept when someone gives you a genuine apology. They showed humility by admitting their wrongdoing, after all.
- Put others ahead of you – Humans are selfish by nature. But when you put others’ needs or wants before your own, you're showing them that you care about them, that you can put yourself last in exchange for their own prosperity.
- Welcome the help of others – If someone is reaching out their hand to help you along, embrace it. Take their hand and let them guide you. Pride is only ever admissible if it is the acknowledgement of something good and noble. But if you're too prideful to accept the help of others, put it aside and welcome their assistance. Wouldn't you want them to do the same?
When humility enters our souls, we are at last able to perceive that we do not live alone in the world but with millions of brothers and sisters, and that hidden in the heart of each is the same animating spirit. U.S. Anderson
Surrender Your Tight Grip and Let Go
Often times, we place such a staunch grip on our circumstances in order to change them or to keep them exactly how they are. Much like a wet bar of soap, the tighter your hold on any given situation, the easier it will slip away.
Because of how fast-paced society has become, people are constantly on a mission to identify, calculate, repair, and repeat. But when does that ever grant us time to bask in the happy accidents of life? Or relish in the blissful flukes?
Life always tosses unexpected things in our path - some bad, but many times good! However, because we are so fixated on chasing after one thing or concept, we are often blinded from what is already there for us!
When you ease your unyielding stance and break free from the tunnel vision every once in a while, you allow some of life's simple beauties to shine through. By letting go sometimes, you expand your sights and are able to see, and consequently appreciate, more of the natural beauty in life that's already there.
- Take a hike - go out and discover the splendor of the natural world around you. It was all here far before we were and will be here long after we are gone.
- Pitch a tent - be adventurous and camp outside; even if it's in your own backyard.
- Star gaze - grab a blanket, a friend, and drive a few miles out of town. Find a spot to place your blanket and lay silently while you look up and admire.
- Go to a new place and meet new people - often times, the people we meet on a whim are those who surprise us the most and are the ones we remember best.
- Extend your heart to others - If I can lift the spirits of at least one person, I have conquered the world. Because chances are, they will pass it along.
- Follow your gut - your instincts are stronger than you think. Trust in your heart and let it guide you.
- Accept the advice of others - let down your shield of armor and savor the kindness and helping hand of others'.
- Take a chance - if your mind is steering you in one direction but your heart is pointing you the other way, let your heart guide you once in a while. The greatest things in life happen by taking a chance and strolling along an unexpected path. For me, I took the summer to travel throughout Europe - it was one of the best experiences of my life.
The healthy being craves an occasional wildness, a jolt from normality, a sharpening of the edge of appetite, his own little festival of the Saturnalia, a brief excursion from his way of life. Robert MacIver
What Provides You with the Most Happiness?
Which of the following gives you the greatest feeling of satisfaction?
Jim Carrey's Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation
A Piece of Inspiration: Carrey's Commencement Address
Jim Carrey's Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of 2014 from Maharishi University of Management is by far one of the greatest speeches I've ever heard. In his address, Mr. Carrey touches on so many points about overcoming your struggles and finding your happiness in life.
"That peace that we’re after, lies somewhere beyond personality, beyond the perception of others, beyond invention and disguise, even beyond effort itself. You can join the game, fight the wars, play with form all you want, but to find real peace, you have to let the armor fall. Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory."
© 2012 M Carnahan