reducing stress

Why laughter is good for our health

My parents have always been a little wacky. My dad is a regular Billy Connolly and my mom is quite zany too. During a typical day with them the sound of laughter fills the room. My laugh takes after my mom’s; an all out ‘you either love it or hate it’ chuckle that you can’t help but find infectious.

 

My parents have always instilled the importance of laughter in me, often saying that if you can laugh at the most dire of times it will see you through. The older I’ve grown, the more I’ve realized just how true that is. I’ll never forget how, whilst receiving treatment back in 2009, I went to watch Ruby Wax (who also suffered from depression) and how I gasped for breath during my gut wrenching laughs at her accounts which poked fun at the depths of depression. Laughter really is the best cure.

 

Although I’ve always valued laughter, recognizing it’s importance and how essential it can be to play, I’ve only recently discovered its proven health benefits. Of course there are the obvious psychological benefits such as lightning burdens, reducing stress, fear and anxiety, an increased sense of intimacy and happiness but there are physical benefits too.  For example, it actually strengthens our immune system, reduces pain, gives us a surge in energy and perhaps most surprisingly of all, helps to prevent heart disease.

 

Below are just some of the ways you can introduce more laughter into your life, enjoy!

More

‘Tis the season to be stressed – How to leave stress behind you for good; Part Three

Last week we looked at decreasing our demands. This week we focus on the fun bit – how we can increase our resources. This is just as essential when tackling stress, as it helps us to gain a more objective and balanced perspective. When our resources are high we are more likely to see the situation for what it is and this can reduce our tendency to enter into a heightened fight, flight or freeze response. There are many positive ways we can actively increase our resources. For instance, if I am stressed at work an early nights sleep will greatly increase my resistance to stress the following day. Unsurprisingly, lack of sleep can significantly increase our stress levels and so it is vital that we make sleep a priority when we are stressed. An early night or a lay in over the weekend can make a vast difference and improve our resources tenfold.

 

More

‘Tis the season to be stressed – How to leave stress behind you for good; Part Two

The first and most important step is admitting to ourselves when we are stressed, hopefully last week’s exercises will have helped you to see more easily whether you are stressed. Admitting we are stressed can often be difficult in our society which promotes a busy lifestyle. How many programmes on TV have you seen featuring ‘essential’ festive events and activities we simply cannot, and should not, miss? When being busy is the norm, admitting we are stressed can seem like announcing we cannot cope with the demands of daily life, but this is not entirely the case. Usually those of us that suffer from stress have chosen to take on what others would not and, consequently, have been burdened with demands that are unmanageable given the resources available to us.

 

  More

‘Tis the season to be stressed – How to leave stress behind you for good; Part One

It’s December and the festive season is upon us once again. Ahead of us lay hours of rushing through shops trying to mark off items from our seemingly endless shopping lists, barging through the crowds on our way. And then there are the party invites flooding into our inbox, several of these falling on the same night and all – without fail – impossible to decline less our friendships be strained forevermore. Add to this the torrent of cookery shows impressing upon us the urgent need to be a Michelin Star chef come Christmas day and no wonder the season fills us with an overwhelming sense of stress.

 

Recalling last Christmas it was clear I was stressed, I had just finished planning my parents honeymoon and was completely burnt out. At the time I was aware I wasn’t myself but, in the depths of my stress, I just saw a seemingly endless to do list which absolutely had to be done – whether I was up to it or not. It’s often so easy to recognise when we have been stressed in the past, but what do we do when we are in the midst of it? How can we learn to recognise what to look out for and react accordingly to reduce it?

More