ILLUMINATION
Published in

ILLUMINATION

4 Way in which a Good Laugh Reduces Your Anxiety — Instantly

A Yogic Perspective on Healing the Overthinking Mind

As a master overthinker, anxiety is a real issue for me. The fact that I am an introvert too doesn’t help much with that, since the habit of shielding myself in my very own castle for days only creates more space for my ongoing stream of thoughts to go wild.

Photo by Mark Daynes on Unsplash

One thing I noticed over time, is that having a good laugh reduces my anxiety enormously. And by ‘good laugh’ I mean a laugh of that sort, which has your eyes tear up and which makes you think you’re gonna wet your pants any moment. The kind of laugh that leaves you with stomach pain and that you still remember when waking up the next morning feeling your ab muscles still hurting from the excellent workout.

I took a deeper look into the phenomenon of laughter.

Can the solution to excessive worrying really be as simple as that?

1. Laughing Relieves Stress and Physical Tension

As already mentioned, ‘laughing your ass off’ is a great physical workout and therefore comes with all the great stress-relieving benefits of exercise. Our breath becomes deeper, which fills our lungs with oxygen and ejects old carbon dioxide from our lungs. Breathing deeply alone calms the mind significantly, which is why taking a deep breath is generally recommended in situations of stress and tension.

Our heart rate increases and our muscles relax. When we’re stuck in our thoughts, we often don’t even notice how tense our body becomes. Especially anxious people, tend to hold a lot of tension in the neck and shoulders. Neck and shoulder pain is a byproduct of extensive overthinking.

Just take the test: How do your shoulders feel right at this very moment? Are they loosely hanging or stiff and tense? Tension in the body creates tension in the mind and the moment we start laughing, we loosen up that tension and let go. Laughter makes us feel relaxed.

2. The Dopaminboost brings Confidence

Another great side-effect of losing yourself in laughter is that it releases a ton of dopamine — the happy hormone — into our system, and thereby naturally elevates our mood.

And let me ask you, have you ever felt joyful and anxious at the same time? If so, let me know, because I haven’t, and I am convinced that it’s not even possible. Being in a good mood usually feels more like flipping over cars and screaming from the top of a mountain. It makes us confident and less doubtful towards the future and whether things will go wrong or not. A confident attitude makes us feel like even if things go wrong, we will be able to handle the mess, and look gorgeous while we do it.

3. We Feel Less Lonely When We Share a Good Laugh

Furthermore, laughter allows us to connect with other people instantaneously. Did it ever happen to you that you were pissed at someone, maybe even arguing and all of a sudden someone nearby slipped on a banana peel and both of you burst out into great laughter? It happened to me and yes people do slip on banana peels in real life, these things are hella slippery!

The interesting thing about situations like these is that the ridiculousness wipes any anger out of the mind. In the face of such comedy, it is simply impossible to remain serious, and giving up seriousness is instant healing to anxiety.

I have experienced more than one argument which ended in laughter. Usually, we realize that it’s not worth it to hold onto such negative feelings when we might as well just move on and enjoy the given moment. A good insight joke can connect strangers because it creates a bond. And while anxiety is also a feeling of inherent loneliness, connecting with others feels extremely healing to our soul.

By the way, the man who slipped that day is fine, no major injuries resulted from the event.

4. Laughter Reminds Us of The Ridiculousness of Life

Did you ever notice how we stop thinking in a moment of great laughter? It is like a pause from the chattering mind, everything stops for a second and we are completely aware of the situation. It makes us feel light and blissful. As a spiritual seeker, I find this phenomenon particularly interesting because, on the other side, a common reaction in moments of great self-realization is unrestrained laughter.

The other day I was watching Videos of the famous Guru Papaji and his disciples sitting in Satsang. It is said that his mere presence was capable of sparking moments of enlightenment for some of his students. His presence was infectious. And a frequent reaction — you guessed it — hysteric laughter. Watching these people, I couldn’t help but join them. Another great thing about laughter, it’s highly contagious!

In spirituality we hear it too often: Life, in reality, is a huge cosmic joke! Whoever listens to well-known teachers and spiritual speakers such as Adyashanti, Gangaji, Sadhguru, and Eckhard Tolle can confirm, one thing they all have in common is that they are very humorous in the delivery of their message. To put it in Osho’s words:

“Becoming enlightened means realizing the ridiculousness of life.”

If that’s true — and let’s just assume it is — I want in on the joke!

In that sense, laughter could be seen as a glimpse behind the curtain — a teaser for how things aren’t actually as serious when looking at them from a different angle. Seriousness is a true illness of the mind, and since it is mostly found amongst adults, I want to ask: When did we stop playing and started worrying so much?

Laughter is the best cure for anxiety because it teaches us to take life playfully instead of obsessing over certain outcomes and imaginary horror scenarios, we created in our thoughts. It means waking up from the fog of extensive worry, and realizing that life doesn’t have to be drama, it can be a comedy too!

Laughter is Freedom. And even if only for a moment — that moment can make the difference in the course of your day.

Thank you for reading :)

--

--

--

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Recommended from Medium

Putting a Band-Aid on Mental Health

Is it okay to feel happy when the world is falling apart around us?

I Was Depressed After Baby. A Misdiagnosis Made It Exponentially Worse.

These Words Saved Me From Suicide

Have you ever thought about your profession and what it does to you mentally?

Addiction — the fleshy dandelion of our personal Upside-Downs

Childhood Trauma Can Lead to Substance Use

Childhood Trauma Can Lead to Substance Use

Stress all around me

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jasmin's Dharma

Jasmin's Dharma

Yoga Teacher. Meditator. Lover. Dancing Witch. Philosopher. Storyteller & Explorer — Penetrating the depths of reality. Talking about womb healing & shadow work

More from Medium

9 Wellness Tips and How Zumba Changes Everything

Health wellness tips for metabolism

Being cool is (finally!) not cool anymore

Body Hacking: 13 Ways to Manage Stress for Better Mental Health

How I Balance Work & Personal Life Everyday