Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois 

Well hello Faith, very good to be together with you.

Faith

It’s great to be with you Lois.

Lois 

Oh what a beautiful day and fall has set in deeply.

Faith

I know the trees are changing.

Lois 

They sure are. You know, every week we explore what it means to live more fully. And last week’s podcast on the impact of taking risks reminded me of the importance of stepping out without having all the answers ready. So I signed up and attended a new class that was outside of my comfort zone because you have to go in person. I do a lot of classes online, but I did this one in person and the growth even in one week was kind of amazing. So there is a risk I took.

Faith

There you go. You’ve blossomed.

Lois 

Something like that. Yeah, I’m certainly hoping so. So you know, if our podcasts are impacting you in any way, we’d really love to hear from you. You can go to our website, which is www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com. You can share your thoughts there, comment on whatever platform you listen to our podcast, sign up for our weekly newsletter, and then please share today’s podcast. Even if it’s just with one person, that would be awesome. So today is going to be a really fun episode for us to go through with you. It’s Episode 93 Transition: The impact of laughter.

Faith

I love laughter. We both do. I know we end up laughing a lot when we get together. I’ve always been a laugher. I mean, I love to laugh and I think I grew up with a family who loved to laugh at the table at times. It wasn’t always laughter at the table, but when it was, we would have tears running down our face. And I’ve laughed with my sister over the years and it’s been kind of a part of just my life and it’s life changing.

Lois 

I mean, I remember Mary Poppins from when I was a kid and that song, I love to laugh. And where they go up in the chairs and they’re on top of the room and they’re just laughing old and young alike. I’ve always appreciated that. It was so much fun for me. So how does laughter affect you? Faith. Do you feel the effects of laughter?

Faith

Oh, without question. I’ve mentioned many, many times how I love to watch something funny before I go to bed because there’s a release, there’s a letting go. So that’s one of the big impacts of the stress of the day. Kind of melts away when you can laugh and set your mind on something lighthearted and it changes your heart, it changes your mind. I love the feeling and the impact of laughter.

Lois 

And for me it breaks the tension. Yes. And sometimes I use it when I’m nervous cause I can actually sense that I’m trying to break the tension a little too quickly. So then I will either say a joke or make fun of myself, but I do know that when it breaks the tension, it brings these endorphins out in me, which I didn’t realize happens like that. And so not only do I have the smile lines and the gut going, but I find that it’s almost like I took a big run or I did something that involved exercise cause it does something about just breaking down that tension and it just deescalates a problem I might be facing.

Faith

So true. It really does. It gives a different perspective after you’ve been able to laugh it out a bit.

Lois 

So if you’re sitting there listening to this podcast and you’re walking this morning or afternoon or evening, you know, we hope we’re going to bring to mind a few things that you might be able to laugh about in life itself, in others or in yourself and then laugh with people. Absolutely. That’s so much fun. You know at www.newportacademy.com we’re reminded about the humor and health link and we’re actually gonna talk a lot about how health is really impacted by humor. And it was the late Norman cousins who I didn’t even realize this was one of the best proponents of laughter as medicine. Apparently when he was about 50 years old, he was diagnosed with this connective tissue disease and he was told he had one in 500 chance of recovery. Well, for whatever reason, he just decided he was going to do something totally out of the box. So he discovered that he felt less pain and had fewer symptoms when he was watching something that made him laugh. So he gave himself a prescription doses of laughter brought on by watching episodes of Candid Camera and old Marx brothers movies.

Faith

That’s excellent.

Lois 

Really fantastic. Yeah, and as a result, he lived for another 25 years after his diagnosis and because he was so brilliant, he began to study the medical effects of laughter and that had the support of California university hospital and all over the board, people started realizing how important laughter was intriguing physical as well as emotional maladies.

Faith

They found the golden gem because it truly is so accurate because I’ve seen the effects not only in my own life, but in the life of many of my clients and people that I truly care about who are suffering. And it’s interesting even in the times of ’em when someone has passed laughter and sour, very close together. And so you, you may be crying one minute and then you remember something about the person who has passed and then you’re hysterically laughing. And I think it’s just this wonderful gift that we’ve been given to help counterbalance what we go through in life. So even at the very worst, the very deepest losses laughter may arise and it’s not wrong. It’s actually there to help heal.

Lois 

Oh, I love that. And you know, if you go to www.mayoclinic.com and you just google laughter as it deals with health, you’re going to be shocked at the amount of research that’s out there right now. And so we thought we would take a look at laughter as an amazing form of stress relief, both immediate and throughout your life. Because one of the things that Mayo discovered was that not only can it just set a pattern for your whole life, but short term, if you need a burst, a dose, an energy boost, laughter might be the trick just even in the short term. And so one of the first things that notices is that it stimulates many organs in your body when you laugh.

Faith

Isn’t that incredible? I love that. I love that. But it makes sense. Look, you’re jumping up and down inside.

Lois 

The intake of oxygen and that’s filling up all these different organs. So, so your heart, your lungs, your muscles. I never even put those two things together that that is part of why it’s helping you loosen up.

Faith

Hey, how many times have you heard somebody say, I can’t take it anymore and my sides hurt. You know, and the next day you’re actually sore. Like you’ve had a big workout and that happens. It really does. So it’s great for those abs.

Lois 

There we go. I think of it like exercise because it does release endorphins and so it does something to everything that’s going on in yourself. And you know, sometimes I think laughter, if we have felt like we’ve been the butt of jokes, we might shy away from it because we might think it has something to do with someone making fun of us instead of realizing laughing together or laughing at yourself or laughing at something that brings you joy, like a television show or, or a podcast or something like that. It can change the mood change. Like you always talk about what happens with the space in the air. It’s just, you know, it changes.

Faith

Yes it does. It does. So that phrase of, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you. If these are people that you can truly trust, then trust that if you have some people that are not so kind, then walk away from them and don’t laugh with them because you can’t trust them. So a lot of the laughter that you enjoy with each other is based on trust.

Lois 

That’s a great point too because yeah, and that’s what we do with everything, right? The people that we hang out. If we trust someone enough to hang out with them, we’re going to trust enough to laugh with them. Right? Another way that it short term can be of an assistance to you is that it activates and relieves your stress response. In other words, you know, things can fire up for you, but when you start laughing, there’s some cooling down that starts to take place with your stress.

Faith

It really does. It’s, I think it’s probably the release of the other kind of chemicals that come into your body that begin to balance that intensity of reacting and you can then move more into responding. And we talk about that so much about how we can live a better life when we can respond rather than react. Yes, it absolutely is a stress reliever. It’s one of the best things you can do to take that deep breath and just say, Oh, that was good. I really laugh that up. No, it makes more sense.

Lois 

Well and you know, your heart rate is going up and down when you laugh and your blood pressure is going up. So you’re literally giving your physical body a workout. Like you just mentioned when your sides hurt and that leaves you with a more relaxed feeling. Yeah. Something about that just takes you through and you just, it’s kind of like when you’ve been with friends and you’ve laughed and you just kind of look at each other and ah, the big sigh of relief. Right. You do notice that though, because I think we have been taking in a lot of these breaths and that’s why it will soothe tension. So these are all short term, but it will soothe tension because it stimulates this circulation. So when you’re actually doing ha, it is the, you know, it’s the inhale, exhale. There’s something about having laughter at the source of that.

Faith

Yeah. If you cry really hard or you laugh really hard, you’re actually going to sleep better. And it’s a lot of times when people can’t sleep, they have many days of not being able to sleep. Well. One of the things I will do with a client with that is like, okay, so what are the emotions that they’re holding back? And sometimes it’s the tears. Sometimes it’s their need to laugh and take life a little more lightheartedly and to have more fun.

Lois 

Well, so if you take that total piece of advice there, if you’re hearing that, you know, do what Norm Cousins did. I mean, give yourself a regular regimen of watching something funny. You know, I have three sons and they love the show, The Office. Now, not everybody likes that and they’re in reruns now, but that’s one way that one son in particular deescalates every single day. He loves watching at least one episode of that. And whenever I’ve joined him, I notice my laughter and my mood completely changes. Even if I’ve had a difficult challenging moment or day in my life.

Faith

t’s so true. Yes. So find what makes you laugh because that’s unique to each person. You know some things that you might think is funny, somebody else might not see it that way, but find what works for you and find the things that stimulate that kind of laughter, your sense of comedy, and then get a collection of those.

Lois 

And give it as a regimen for yourself. Maybe in addition to being mindful in the morning, you can laugh out loud in the evening. Whatever works, right? So, hey, we want to let you know that we have a brand new sponsor for our podcast and it is called affordable aesthetics and we are so excited if you’re considering a way to look and feel healthier right now, we want to introduce you to our friend Anna Twerskoi at Affordable Aesthetics.

Faith

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Lois 

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Faith

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Lois 

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Faith

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Lois 

So we are back to our podcast, Episode 93: the impact of laughter. We talked about some short term benefits, but laughter also has longterm effects for stress relief.

Faith

Isn’t that great? Yes, I mean not just short term but longterm that it really can impact you for the rest of your life. And I think that has been significant in the laughter I had as a child. And even though there were a lot of things that weren’t so laughable in my life, I think it helped bring that counterbalance and I see the effects and my kind of perspective of life too, that it’s not all dark, that there’s joy, there’s laughter in it as well. So it can improve your immune system. Yes, I know. And for me that’s critical because my immune system has been impacted in life physically. And I know that when I laugh and can be with friends, I do feel better. I feel a release and I feel my body not as painful at times from the immune system that is lacking.

Lois 

You know, it’s so interesting that we definitely attach negative emotions to how they impact your immune system. And I think all of us will agree and go, yeah, if you’re constantly carrying around all these heaviness and you don’t deal with it, you know, by talking to a therapist or a life coach or a psychiatrist, if you don’t get some help, it’s going to take a toll on your body. So we look at the negative side and we say, see, this will affect your immune system because it compounds your stress and your immunity decreases. What laughter does the exact opposite. It’s not the only antidote, obviously if you have negative emotions, but it is one of them, which is why Norm Cousins used it so successfully, but positive thoughts apparently released what are called neuropeptides. And those are the things that help you fight stress and possibly even more serious illnesses. There’s something that goes on with that. For me, this was so helpful as we were doing the research into this because I have long believed that those with huge negative, you know the weight of the world around them. It starts you know chipping away but I did not flip that to say yes and the opposite is also true.

Faith

That’s so good because it is true. It’s like you can really change how you feel and how you step into it. They’re using it for pain management in a way that they haven’t before that when you can’t take the medications and there’s other things that you’ve tried that don’t work, they are finding that laughter can be a big piece of reducing that pain level.

Lois 

In fact, that’s one of the other things we want to talk about. It actually does relieve some of your pain because it causes your body to produce its own natural painkillers that has to do with this neuropeptide and it comes into your system. But you were mentioning a friend who was going in for surgery and how laughter made a big difference.

Faith

It made a huge difference for her because she was really scared and there were probably about six of us back there and when she had a late surgery in the day, so everybody else had already gone up to surgery. And so we had this big huge place and it was basically empty and she was in the back corner and we were back there and we started laughing and we were laughing so loud and hysterically at the nurse came back and said, there’s far too much jocularity back here. You need to stop it. This is affecting the patients. We looked around and there were no patients and we just lost it again and then she said, you need to stop. So we tried, but the end result was she went into surgery, lighthearted, all the tension, all the fear had been released and she actually recovered more quickly on the other side. She felt better. She went through the pain that she had to endure, but I saw a huge difference because I’d seen her go through other surgeries not as well.

Lois 

It’s such a reminder that if you’re going through something bleak in your life, no matter what it is, whether you’re going into the hospital or whether you’re at home, if you can bring this dose of laughter as part of your regimen, which I’d never really thought is, you know, I thought of humor and I like to be lighthearted and I do laugh a lot when I talk to people, but not that I incorporate it. Because we talk so much about what you focus on, you strengthen. So if I focus more on laughter, I bring this lighthearted element to my body, my physical body that can actually have longterm effects. I know it’s really cool.

Faith

I know it was meant to actually help us.

Lois 

Yes. So remember that as we’re talking about longterm effects for stress relief, it can be super helpful in other ways. It can increase personal satisfaction.

Faith

When you laugh, you find that easier to cope with those difficult situations, those things that seem insurmountable. If you can get a different perspective on it and say, okay, you know, how can I approach this? And then if you can even begin to say, what are the things that might be the pitfalls and laugh about them a bit and figure out ways to move through it, the laughter just brings that balance that we can stand on in life that doesn’t leave us so focused on intensity. We get so intense about things in life, right? And we need relief from that. And that’s why I think when you see big mistakes happen, we know we all laugh at it because we’ve been there, but it’s laughable. And then we move through it and it’s like it’s no longer a mistake. It was a laughable moment instead of a disaster.

Lois 

It taught us something and it goes back to the point that we bring up so often, which is what’s the worst that can happen? Sometimes when you just say those words, you can start giggling and you know, it’s like that notion. I brought up a few podcasts ago when I was so upset about something and I wrote it down and I looked at it and I went, really? Is this what was getting me so upset? Because as soon as I put it on paper, it took all the sting out of it, right? And I had to laugh at it. So sometimes these tools to remind us not to take ourselves so seriously, even when we’re facing difficult situations. And then to end it all by saying Faith’s favorite line. So? Okay, that just happened. So, and that does nothing but make me laugh every single time I say that, I can’t say it with a straight face because it reminds me that, wow, I got back into my little old, you know, inside myself that it mattered so much. And at the end of the day, no, not so much.

Faith

I know. Puts, it brings things into perspective. It just puts them in their proper place of what really is important and what we can actually move around.

Lois 

Now, this last thing we’re going to bring up to you, which is really kind of silly, but it is the core of it all. When you talk about a longterm effect for stress relief, laughter improves your mood.

Faith 

Oh my goodness. Yes it does. It changes how you see, think it gets shakes the moths out and all at once. Your brain is clear and you can see things from a different perspective and dimension to where, wow, like you said, it’s not that serious. It’s not that big of a deal. I can get through this, so it’s, if you do that, then your mood does change. Now you become more lighthearted. Now you become more excited about life again and isn’t that what it’s all about? It’s instead of like life is so hard. It’s like, Oh, I can do this. Yeah, life is pretty good.

Lois 

It’s a tool that we can all access. No one has to give us this tool and that’s the other part I love about it. When I see that I can lift myself out of a dark moment by watching something funny or writing something down and going, really this is what bugged me? I see that the darkness can be lifted. That is a huge piece of personal power that I get that I don’t have to be controlled by that dark feeling. And there are times all of us go through times where we are depressed, where we have thoughts that are negative. To know that there are ways to lift ourselves out of that is just one more tool. I love tools. I just, I think in my arsenal as a coach, I want as many tools as possible that I can encourage people with and because mainly they encourage me. I know I don’t have to stay where I am unless I want to.

Faith

Yes, exactly. And those tools are out there in more ways than we even realize. We don’t have to wait to watch a movie or you know, the tonight show or something that makes us laugh. I go to Facebook in the morning and yes, there’s heavy stuff there and there’s things that you have to deal with, but there’s also these insanely funny things, animal things that just crack you up and you’re just to have tears coming down your face or something that has happened or someone shares something funny. Those are worth reading and really taking in far more than the heavy stuff that goes on. Laugh a bit and find those laughable sites that have funny things on there.

Lois 

You know, watch children at a park. Yes. If you’re walking your dog through and listen to the conversations they have and you’ll find yourself just like walking away, try not to do it in front of them. Can you believe what they just said? I mean, I just love that because we see that in a regular basis. We have a park by our house, so there are ways that you can get little pieces of laughter that you don’t create. Like you just said, you don’t have to go watch something, but if you surround yourself with places where laughter can be there. Yeah, it’s really interesting that it can make you feel better about your circumstances and then share it. I love that what you just said about Facebook. Share that. Yeah, because especially light moments for some people they are few and far between and so share a moment like that and let them laugh with you.

Faith

Yes. Laughter is contagious. Spread the good laughter in the world.

Lois 

I do like that. Just like if somebody yawns around me, if someone’s laughing, I’m pretty sure to start laughing as well.

Faith

Embrace the times when you can laugh with another person knowing that you’re creating a bond that will be a huge buffer against stress.

Lois 

When laughter grows in your relationships, you can be more spontaneous. Let go of resentments and judgments and it begins to dissipate your fear of holding back.

Faith

Please share this podcast and a good laugh with someone who cheers you up or needs a bit of a boost themselves.

Lois 

And join us next week for transition. The impact of the false self.

Faith

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois 

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith

As you transition through all sorts of change. We want you to know there is more to life.

Lois 

We’ll be back next week.