Nearly all of us have experienced the high of a good belly laugher. The euphoric feeling lasts long after the episodic event. Just thinking about something that made us laugh years ago is enough to change our state of mind. According to Dr. Lee Berk, laughter may not be the best medicine but it activates brainwaves similar to those associated with experienced meditators. Dr. Lee, an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California has spent nearly three decades studying the effects of laughter on the brain and body.
I have always thought that meditation is over-sold in the marketplace of mind-body healing. It is simply difficult to practice. Trying to stop your anxious thoughts or intrusive memories is not at all easy. How does one focus on a single point when there are so many errands to run. Moreover, recently it has been debunked as the cure-all for all ailments – physical and emotional.
Here’s why laughter is a better alternative to meditation.
1) You Don’t Need To Go Into A Cave
The most difficult aspect of meditation is finding the time. Scheduling a meditative practice in one’s busy day is difficult if not impossible. As a mother, it becomes tough to just cancel out the daily activities that keep happening around you. We just can’t get our kids to shut up so we can meditate and become calmer. It’s a double bind, trying to meditate to relax oneself but end up feeling stressed trying to do it. As a mother, I know the difficulties of asking your kid to keep silent so you can just focus on your breathing or that point between our eyebrows. Believe me, even 10 minutes is a long time for a child to remain quiet.
2) More The Merrier
Laughing together is one of the most enjoyable things of life. The joys of shared fun and laughter. It could be just horsing around. Or simply doing some crazy dance moves. Ah, the wonderful high of a silly pillow fight. The incredible thrill one feels during these group activities lasts not just during the actual event, one can experience the same feeling just thinking about it. Indulging in laughter-filled activities is a sure way to raise happy, joyful kids. They will always have these fun memories to tide them over the difficult stresses of life. The fun and laughter times that I shared with my mother has seen me through my darkest times.
3) Indulge While Alone
When American political journalist and author Norman Cousin contracted a debilitating autoimmune he decided to employ laughter to heal himself. He describes his experience in healing in his book Anatomy Of An Illness. According to Cousins, exposing himself to a continuous stream of humorous films and similar “laughing matter” would give him two hours of pain-free sleep, when not even morphine was ineffective. So, even when one is feeling low or alone in this world there is nothing like watching a really, silly, funny movie or serial. Who amongst us is not moved to laughter watching Charlie Chaplin’s ridiculous antics while he struggles to survive in the world? Watching down on luck comedic antics of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy is a sure way to change my state of mind. Life is definitely not that bad.
Also, reading some good funny jokes, stories or watching funny kids videos are other ways to bring laughter into your life and change your brain state. Laughter has a way of connecting us even when we feel disconnected. All it takes is for that neuron to fire differently to change our brain into feeling better and humor being a whole brain activity is just what is needed to transform us. The aftershocks of a good laugh ripple through your brain and body for a long time.
Ellen On Laughter
Finding ways to laugh is the simplest way to change and rewire your brain. That single moment when you let go your inhibitions and release your sorrow in a burst of laughter is enough for a neuron to fire up new healing connections. Humor increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain. These neurochemicals positively impact our immune system function. Why struggle with something difficult as meditation when laughter produces the same brainwave frequencies experienced by people deep meditative state.