Laughter feels so good. It releases serotonin and endorphins which helps balance the stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine. Yet, when we are stressed or unhappy, it is one of the last responses we do.
Yet, laughter is essential for us to feel connected with people. It’s a way humans bond together. We are social animals and respond best in the company of others rather than living alone. This is not saying that we have to all be extroverts. The mix of social activity and alone time is according to each individual. I’ve noticed that the older I become the amount of time between social and alone has changed. Although, it is easy to become more alone leading to isolation.
How can we ensure we make the most of laughing?
1. Release all the unresolved loss and grief inside us.
Grieving puts us into a negative space and this is, perhaps, why it is avoided. If we don’t resolve all the losses in our life, they become ever so heavy burdens.
A simple way is to find a buddy who wants to share releasing the loss journey with you. For each loss, write a letter sharing all that you gained from the relationship plus the times you were annoyed and angry. Finish of the letter with ‘Goodbye’ and your name. Set up a time for your buddy to read aloud each others letters. There must be no judgement or discussion about the contents of the letters. Continue in this way until all the losses have been released.
When I mention losses, these can be so varied and include:
- Friendships that finish abruptly
- Change in social status
- Loss of health, even if temporary
- Extended family
Grieving releases all the negativity and gives you an opportunity to gain wisdom. You notice a lightness of heart.
2. Start a practice of gratitude or Gratitude Journal
This is complementary to releasing losses. You can become grateful for the losses for the lessons they gave you.
Set a side 10 minutes a day to write down ten things you are grateful for. There are so many things – seeing the sunrise, the sky, rain, a smile, appreciation of what people do for you, remembering the joy you give by doing things for other people, their appreciative acknowledgement of your impact in their lives. There’s gratitude in the bed you sleep, the food you eat, the body you have, the car you drive. This list is endless. Every moment of the day can have something to be grateful for.
Gratitude fills our inner reservoir. It lightens our mood and raises our vibration. I refer to this as our breath of life. As we breathe in Gratitude, the out breathe is that of generosity.
We can also be grateful for how we show up in the world; with what we do with that out breath. This may be acts of kindness, spending time with someone; giving your full attention to another person, giving wonderful hugs full of love. This list is endless too. There is no need to give money, although, in some circumstances, it may be appropriate.
We make the most impact as humans by how we leave people feeling. The easiest way is through love and time.
Now, we are light, full of love and positive energy, let’s start on the external activities
3. Stay/Get Connected
This is also intrinsically linked to Doing Something New and a really great way of increasing the opportunity for humour and laughter.
People who are socially connected laugh more.
This can be anything. Here are some pointers:
- Starting a new hobby
- Doing an art class
- Doing an exercise class
- Joining a new social group
- Calling friends you haven’t been in touch with for ages and having a chat and/or arranging to meet up.
- Take up a new sport whether it’s free or lots of money, it’s the activity, the social activity that’s important.
Start small and build momentum with little wins. Little things to give positive feedback and encourage you to repeat, repeat and repeat some more.
The big thing, here, is not to worry about what people think. Associate yourself with people who like having you around; who show you appreciation (rather than taking you for granted.)
With the inner work, all these outer activities will help you regain the frequency of laughter and maintain your positive vibe. You’ll be in demand. People gravitate to people that leave them feeling fabulous.
The bonus is you feel fabulous too. There’s no limit on how far this positive spiral can take you.
Take action today. A small step each day brings rewards. Faster than you think!