Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
With so much negativity going on this year, my mindset was in the red. Somehow, I’d turned into a pessimist who focused on the negative side of things almost exclusively. I was so tuned into seeing the negative things in everything. It got so bad that my therapist diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. During one session, we got to talking about turning things around and seeing the other side, the optimistic or positive side. So far, I’ve been doing great, and one thing that’s helped is laughing more. I’d been buried in so much bad news all year that I’d forgotten the importance of finding humor in small things. It’s been a great mood booster for me, and I’m trying to help spread this positivity to others.
We all know that exercise, plenty of sleep, and a healthy diet can improve physical and mental health, but what if we added something else to the mix? Have you ever heard that “laughter is the best medicine?” At Rice Psychology Group, we believe it is and there’s legit research to back up this age-old saying!
Making Time for What’s Important
In a recent vlog, our own Dr. Nikel Rogers-Wood discussed the power of laughter and asked her audience a very important question: “When’s the last time you laughed?” With everything going on in 2020, has it been a while since you had a hearty laugh? As Dr. Rogers-Wood says, science has proven that laughing, or simply just smiling, can be an instant and needed mood booster.
It’s incredibly important to find things that make you laugh. Whether it’s watching or reading something funny or speaking with someone who has a humorous way with words, making time for laughter and positivity is a vital piece of our mental health puzzle.
The Power of Laughter
According to an article from VeryWellMind.com, laughter has several benefits, the biggest being stress management. Here are a few ways that laughter can help:
- It helps reduce stress hormones and increases health-enhancing hormones.
- It’s great for the diaphragm, abs, shoulders, and heart.
- It takes our focus off of negativity.
- It gives us a more lighthearted perspective on life and helps us view stressful events more positively.
- It’s contagious! It connects us with others and serves as an icebreaker.
It can be hard to laugh during these times, but here are some ideas to get your recommended fill of humor:
- Surrounding yourself with positive people and making time for Zoom or FaceTime calls where you can have fun together is great for your mental health. Last week, I ended a few of my Zoom therapy sessions with kids by jumping rope “together.” After finding a spot that could accommodate both Zoom and jumping rope, we wrapped up the sometimes-serious work of therapy with an equally serious case of jumping, skipping, and the giggles.
- Watch funny movies, shows, or even YouTube videos! It’s a quick and easy way to get laughter and positive feelings into your life when you need them most. If you don’t have time, then do a quick search for a GIF.
- Sometimes we laugh so we don’t cry, and that’s okay! Finding humor in negative situations is a good way to cope with and manage stress.
Doing This Together
While we won’t claim to be the funniest people you’ll meet, we are here to listen to and help you! We currently offer private, online sessions via telehealth as well as a limited number of telehealth and in-person evaluations for all ages. Please feel free to contact us to schedule your free consultation. All are welcomed here, and if you know some good jokes, then we’re ready to laugh!