Episode #8 of the course 10 Strategies to Overcome Your Everyday Fears by Frank McKinley
Welcome to Lesson 8! You made it!
Legendary TV funnyman Milton Berle said, “Laughter is the best medicine in the world.” He should know! Berle spent 80 years in show business and lived to the age of 93.
In this lesson, we’ll see how laughter makes you healthier and learn how to incorporate humor into your daily life.
Laughter’s Many Health Benefits
Laughter stimulates your organs. When you laugh, you breathe in more oxygen-rich air. That goes straight to your heart, lungs, and muscles.
Laughter makes your brain produce more endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemical. Want a natural high? Enjoy a hearty, belly laugh!
Laughter reduces stress. Often, when you’re nervous, you feel too serious about a situation. Laughter lets you relax, and that releases stress from your body and mind. Then you’re free to do your best!
Laughter soothes tension and increases blood circulation. Tense muscles loosen up. Pain subsides. And the likelihood you’ll have a good day goes way up.
The positive thoughts that come from laughter release neuropeptides, which your body uses to fight stress. They can even prevent serious illnesses.
Laugh today and you’ll have a better tomorrow!
Laughter Is Good for Your Mind
There are psychological benefits that come when you laugh regularly.
Laughing releases stress. That gives you a better outlook on life. Your relationships are richer. And life in general is a lot more fun.
Laughter makes way for your mind to see possibility in dark times. It’s hard to feel sad or depressed when you’re laughing. You can’t feel down while you’re smiling.
If you don’t feel like laughing, you can trick your body into it. Start by assuming the physiology of laughter. Turn the corners of your mouth up. Smile so big it wrinkles the skin next to your eyes. Think of something silly. Make the sounds you make when you laugh.
Keep it up until it becomes real.
If you need help, keep a funny picture or two in your wallet. Watch a funny video if you have time. There are millions of them online!
Laugh with Friends
One afternoon I watched Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run with my brother.
He laughed at almost every scene. Sometimes he laughed so hard he couldn’t talk. Do you know what I did? I started laughing, too!
The movie didn’t have to be funny. I laughed because my brother laughed. I mirrored his joy and found some of my own.
It can feel wrong to laugh at a funeral, but once you start, it can be really hard to stop. I remember laughing at my grandmother’s funeral when the preacher talked about how she and her sisters listened in on phone calls as they came into the local switchboard.
I can also remember my grandmother telling funny stories and laughing with us at how silly people can be. She lived to be 96, and her love of laughter and family etched sweet memories into our hearts and minds forever.
Laugh Every Day
What if you set aside time to laugh, like you would eating or exercising?
How do you do that?
Learn a joke a day. Try it out on your friends. If the joke is funny, you’ll all laugh!
Do this often enough and you’ll learn to spot funny situations in your own life you can turn into stories. Then you’ll be able to face otherwise scary situations with a brighter outlook.
In our next lesson, we’ll learn how facing fear with friends boosts our confidence. See you there!
Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love by Ruth Soukup
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