For those of you who read my previous two blog posts for “The 3 secrets to keeping your happiness”, I shared the first secret with you which was about taking your “bliss bubble” with you wherever you go: “Secret #1: The power of the state of change”. The second secret was about the life-changing impact a pose can have on your life: “Secret #2: Strike a power pose”.
And now, for secret 3…
Laughter may truly be the best medicine, I sure believe it!
This morning was one of those mornings. We all have them. I tried the first secret, to change my state and stay in my bliss bubble while working my way through the traffic. I blasted music, danced in my car and screamed: “my feet don’t stink today”. I felt amazing the whole way to work. (If none of this is making sense read secret #1 and secret #2)
Then I got a phone call that blasted me into a state of fear and anxiety. I immediately struck my power pose, secret #2, and it did feel really good! Then I got into the lift and, low and behold, it got stuck halfway between two floors. There were five of us in a tiny enclosed space. One lady started screaming hysterically which set off a domino effect of panic.
A gentleman was banging the emergency button with frenzied fury, like a crazed woodpecker. The panic was filling up the lift like a thick, suffocating, deadly mist.
And then, out of nowhere, a lady in the corner, who nobody had even noticed until that point, burst into the most joyful, belly laugh I had ever heard. It was that uncontrollable kind of laughter that you see from toddlers. It came from her toes and was so all-encompassing that she barely managed to get the words out, “my boss told me that the only excuse he would take for me being late for my 08:30 meeting was if the lift had locked me in and we all know that never happens, so best you make it!”
Her laughter was so genuine that it ascended us above our situation. Slowly our fear turned to calmness, the calmness to smiles and within minutes our bellies were aching from laughter.
Just then, there was a jerk and the elevator started moving again.
In that moment I realized the power of laughter. The power to elevate us, but mostly, the power to connect us all no matter what the circumstance.
Laughter increases endorphins which are our feel-good molecules. You can get these from exercise and this is one of the reasons that laughing has been referred to as internal jogging!
The endorphin effect also explains why social laughter is so contagious. Spreading endorphin release through groups promotes a sense of togetherness and safety. Each brain in a social unit is a transmitter of those feelings, which triggers the feel-goodness in other brains via laughter. It’s like a game of endorphin dominoes. That’s why when someone starts laughing, others will likely laugh as well, even if they’re not sure what everyone is laughing about.
It also increases your happy hormone, serotonin which reduces stress and increases energy!
Laughter has even been shown to reduce pain by increasing the release of these molecules, which are natural pain-suppressing agents. The ability of laughter to release muscle tension, soothe the nervous system and increase circulation also helps to control pain. A recent study showed that 10 minutes of laughter has an analgesic (pain relieving) effect of 2 hours. Isn’t that incredible?
But wait, there’s more… Laughter has been shown to strengthen the immune and endocrine systems, improve cardiovascular function, increase brain connectivity, and even regulate gene expression. Laughter activates 23 genes that we know of, and 18 of these genes help the immune system.
So, your mission for today, should you choose to accept it, is to watch a comedy or do something fun, to cause a contagious wave of laughter!
Dr. Pheiffer is the leader in Africa for Medical Biohacking and is pioneering the fields of life extension, youth enhancement and mental and physical optimization in the southern hemisphere.
She has lectured both nationally and internationally for billion dollars per annum companies, as well as locally for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine, and has been a keynote speaker at AMCSA for 3 years. She also hosts a radio health and wellness slot and authors a newsletter to other physicians around the country on the subjects of advanced nutrition, biochemistry, nutrigenomics, as well as functional, integrative and anti-ageing medicine, which she is considered a thought leader internationally for.