Stressless Spring 2021 – Stress Awareness Month

I’m sure we have all heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but I wonder how many of us have actually taken time to think about this and realise how true it can be.

What is it?

The International Moment of Laughter was first launched on April 14th 1997 and was created by Humourist Izzy Gesell. It’s easy to see that Izzy Gesell has an extremely strong connection to humour and laughter and a very strong belief in its power.

‘ Laughter comes right after breathing as just about the healthiest thing you can do. It relieves stress, instils optimism, raises self-confidence, defuses resistance to change and enhances all your relationships’.

Gesell (2020)

So Izzy Gesell wanted to encourage the globe to laugh more individually, while also doing what we can to make those around us laugh as well. To create and share happiness and joy, having a simple, but strong impact on mental health.

Group of four twenty-something's sitting outside having a laugh and a god time

What is Stress?

Everybody will experience stress on a regular basis in their lives. For most, this will be of minimal impact, however, there will be times when stress is experienced at an increasingly high level. Stress can be brought on by so many things, for example, financial difficulties, unexpected changes in life, health problems or academic requirements. We then experience an automatic bodily response, which we have very little control over; ‘our body produces stress hormones that trigger a fight or flight response and activates our immune system’. (Mental Health Foundation, 2016)

To learn more about stress head over to the Mental Health Foundation

So why is laughter good for you?

It is fair to say that we all experience a variety of benefits when it comes down to laughter. We will feel some more than others; with our experiences being totally different to what our friends or family may experience. However, it is still a benefit for all and makes everyone of us feel good.

The benefits of laughter and humour
Physical Health BenefitsMental Health BenefitsSocial Benefits
Boosts immunityAdds joy and zest to lifeStrengthens relationships
Lowers stress hormonesEases anxiety and tensionAttracts others to us
Decreases painRelieves stressEnhances teamwork
Relaxes your musclesImproves moodHelps defuse conflict
Prevents heart diseaseStrengthens resiliencePromotes group bonding
The benefits of laughter – HelpGuide (2020)

I’m sure we don’t need to ask, but wouldn’t it be nice to feel a bit more positive in some of these areas?

Challenge yourself

  1. Make yourself laugh at least once today.
  2. Make someone you know, family or friend laugh.
  3. Try to make a stranger laugh.

What ways will you consider?

word cloud of laugh terms - chuckle titter giggle chortle cackle belly-laugh snicker snigger guffaw sputter snort bray haw-haw hee-haw neighing howl roar ha-ha tee-hee hoot

References & Sources

Gesell, I. (2018/2021) April 14th International Moment of Laughter Day. Available at: https://izzyg.com/international-moment-of-laughter/ (Accessed: 2021).

HelpGuide (1999/2021) Laughter is the best medicine. Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm (Accessed: 2021).

Mental Health Foundation (2016/2021) Stress. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stress?gclid=CjwKCAjw07qDBhBxEiwA6pPbHi7eWK4VMxLvNxgu4vaOccasO8Ty5GnlkJS3Xc0V5S5PNp-aAT0iEBoCJqEQAvD_BwE (Accessed: 2021).