Heart Humor… L-a-u-g-h it up!
Have you ever had one of those days when things were just not working out? I had one of those days yesterday and rather than bore you with the details, I’ll just share what I did to get out of the pits and into the place of positive perspective. I call it L-A-U-G-H! And I share my “laugh resources” below. But first, did you know that on Tuesday, May 6, a new world laughter record was set by 1,950 elders in Dada Dadi park in Borivli, India? Here’s a great photo of the group in action!
We know that laughter can be the best medicine. Norman Cousins’ groundbreaking work on laughter changed the way we think about emotion and healing 38 years ago.
As humor guru, Dr. William Fry, from Stanford University says, “Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex.” It also gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. Laughter has been shown to reduce stress hormones, increase disease-fighting T cells and trigger the release of endorphins. Overall, laughing increases our sense of well-being and makes us feel light-hearted. Shantibhai Sanghvi (90), one of the participants in Tuesday’s world record said. “Laughter gives me a lot of energy, makes me fresh. A reason why I feel so young even at 90. For me it is an activity of bonding.”
Unfortunately, however, many people don’t get enough laughter in their lives. In fact, one study suggests that healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, but adults tend to laugh only 15 times per day. And some people hardly laugh at all. There’s even a condition called “laughter deprivation”, associated with depression.
So how often are you taking advantage of a powerful internal heart-healing activity, namely, laughing? Of course, this does not apply in situations of extreme loss and disappointment but in daily stress-provoking situations, this 5 step process can come in handy:
1) Let it go! Choose to lighten up and stop taking things so seriously. Ask yourself: “Is this really as important as I think it is? What am I doing to contribute to the conflict… how can I detach and defuse from the stress?” As a Heart Math coach and trainer, I always recommend the quick and easy techniques of Inner Ease and Quick Coherence (see previous blog posts for more information.)
2) Accept your desire to control things and Acknowledge you can’t! This is self-awareness “101”. Many of us know this as living the Serenity Prayer. The key application of the prayer is in the phrase “the wisdom to distinguish between the things we can change and the things we cannot.” I’ve learned how to save myself from a lot of emotional wear and tear by just accepting what is versus wishing something to be different
3) Understand that it’s not all about you! This is pretty basic but in moments of challenge, it’s always good to remember that people have their own issues. If you tend to personalize things, this is a very important step! The defining point is to be able to own your projections, i.e. the things you deny in yourself that you observe in others, versus other people’s personal issues. The defining question is this: whatever the situation is, are you able to remain neutral and non-judgmental? OR do you have a running dialog about what “he or she” should have said or done? If you are not neutral, then it IS your issue to own and work on (I recommend the Radical Forgiveness, Emerg-N-See process to get to the root of things very quickly). But if you are neutral, simply move forward.
4) Get out of your head – When done with step 3, quit analyzing and focus on something that you can be grateful for, laugh about or appreciate about yourself or the situation. We tend to over-think in our society. Give yourself a break and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, whatever that is.
5) Humor! There are two ways to get into heart- humor. The typical way: Find something to laugh about – it’s really not that hard to do. Look at your junior high school photos, watch America’s Funniest Home Videos, check out the latest “auto-correct” messages on: http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/
If you like surfing the net, here’s another website that guarantees a few chuckles, sign-spotting, funny signs from around the world:
OR, the second way is what I call the New Way of Heart-Humor: Learn to laugh for no reason at all. It’s really easy and everyone can do it! How? Practice laugh yoga, one of the fastest growing trends in health and well-being. I bet within two minutes of listening to the free laugh yoga recording located at the end of this web page, you will break out into a full belly laugh!
More on Laugh Yoga:
So what’s your favorite way to get a quick laughter fix? Share it with me and spread the hearty laughter!