L is for Laugh and Let Go

Part 3 of this B-A-L-A-N-C-E Your Life series.

Laugh. Comic icon Charlie Chaplin said “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I agree. Yet many people can go days, weeks or longer without enjoying a good belly laugh. How about you? How long can you last without laughter? For me, I laugh every day.

If the world around you doesn’t make you laugh naturally (like you aren’t blessed with a hilarious spouse, best friend or co-worker), then create your own laughter.

Medical experts have been researching laughter for decades and have found that laughter is an excellent aerobic exercise. When we laugh, both our heartbeat and our blood pressure rise. After we finish a good laugh, usually while we’re taking a breath and letting out a long sigh, the heartbeat and blood pressure drop even lower. In the psycho-neuro-immunology field (it’s a mouthful, I know), research shows that laughter helps boost the immune system.

In his research, Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California calls the white T cells that fight infection “happy cells” because they increase when the body experiences laughter, happiness and joy. So even if you are having a bad day, if you can manage to laugh, know that your T cells are happy. For information on the health benefits of laughter, visit the websites of the World Laughter Tour, Laughter Yoga International or Laughter Online University and enjoy several simple laughter exercises with a few videos.

Here are a few quick tips to create more humor in your everyday life:

  • Read the comics every morning.
  • Visit a local comedy club often for a night of laughs.
  • Visit top comedy websites to watch hilarious sketches or clips. Two of my favorites are Comedy Central or Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die.

water-drop-pearls-on-green-leaves-thumbLet Go. This can be a tough one: Learning to let go…of the day, the week, bad feelings…anything that physically or psychologically brings you down or makes you feel anxious. Don’t let things bottle up inside of you. Being able to recall specific memories is a cherished part of being human, yet you could become emotionally paralyzed if your memory keeps dredging up old, negative thoughts. Let it go! The past is the past and you can’t do anything to change it. Accept it and move on. Begin today by letting go of any negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

The great hatha yoga master Lilias Folan uses a healing breathing practice at the end of each day called Let the Day Go. The practice is done each night to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. It allows you to intentionally exhale out the day and any feelings about the day, and inhale fresh, rejuvenating air to clear your mind, put your body at ease and get you ready for the next day.

What can you do each day to laugh and let go?