Laughter – a good medicine for Stress Relief
By Cliff Kuhn, M.D
Your unhealthy stress symptoms are subject to powerful prescription for the natural medicine of humor.
One recipe of stress management is having fun and it is Laugh with Yourself to be more specific. This “commandment” is not about humiliation or self-denigration, it is the ultimate in self-respect because it teaches you to appreciate your “perfect imperfection” and to find gentle amusement in your foibles. And, when it comes to stress, there is plenty of amusement to be found which will greatly aid your stress relief management.
Here’s the first amusing thing about your stress: you can’t live without it, yet too much is bad for your health. Like many of the essential things in life: we need a certain amount of stress to survive, yet too much can kill us. For example, we die if we are without water for more than a few days; but submerge us in water and we die a lot sooner.
It is said that we can die from boredom. I don’t think there is any scientific evidence for that theory, but one thing is certain – stress relieves boredom. Ending boredom, indeed, could be considered a form of stress relief. An amusing paradox, no doubt!
Without stress, also, we might not eat. Hunger is a form of stress our body needs occasionally to remind us we need food. Stress causes the adrenal glands to work. Athletes would not perform at their best without stress-induced adrenaline. Every activity causes a certain amount of stress. So does inactivity. In fact, to be completely stress-free we would have to be dead – not a highly recommended stress management technique!
The idea that stress is a killer is exaggerated, which is also humorous. Too much stress can be a killer, and it is against too much stress in our lives that we need to guard. Fortunately we are equipped with the finest possible stress management mechanism: the natural medicine of humor and the ability to laugh with ourselves. Far better and safer than Valium, it is our built-in stress management system.
As you learn to laugh with yourself you will become like an athlete – who can have fun running the mile or the marathon and still turn in peak performance. In fact, since too much seriousness can tighten muscles through negative tension, laughing with yourself may even enhance performance. This Fun Commandment works wonderfully on many levels.