“A person without a sense of humour is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road. “ Henry Ward Beecher
Have you ever been in the midst of an argument with someone and suddenly had an uncontrollable urge to laugh? Did you stifle this urge out of embarrassment or the need to be right? Or did you give into it? Chances are, if you gave into the urge, your opponent likely dissolved into laughter as well.
Laughter has been shown to strengthen the immune system, lower stress hormones, raise dopamine levels (the happy hormone that creates a sense of euphoria and stimulates the brain’s reward centre), relax muscles, lower blood pressure, increase pain tolerance, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.
Adding a sense of humour widens our perspective.
Like all positive emotions, humour broadens our perspective by bringing our heart and brain into harmony thereby enabling our creativity, intuition and sense of connection with others.
As I’m sure you’ve experienced, negative emotions like anger unbalance our whole body by releasing stress hormones, and doing the opposite of everything I listed above! They also cause massive energy drain.
Our body’s natural state is one of harmony and health.
If we listen carefully, our body and will give us clear signals about what we need to do to get back into a harmonious state if we get out of harmony. The urge to laugh or yawn when under stress and tension is our body attempting to diffuse negative energy and regain balance.
“Humour is the great thing. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away.” ~Mark Twain
Our egos often dominate the negative feelings that pull us out of harmony, and they don’t want to let go! It can be very difficult to transition from feelings like anger to positive feelings like joy. You just can’t get there in a leap. That’s where the wisdom lies in the idea of counting to 10 before saying anything if you’re upset. However, laughter can catapult us almost instantly from resistance and anger to nonresistance and connection.
It’s impossible to laugh and be angry at the same time.
Risk bringing in a respectful sense of humour next time things get tense. Not as a way to avoid conflict, but as a way to put you and anyone else involved in a more coherent, connected state. It is from a state of harmony that problems either dissolve or can be solved with mutual respect, creativity, intuition and compassion.