Let’s talk about stress.
Do you know that chronic stress can damage brain structure and connectivity?
I often mention stress and cortisol at my Laughter Workshops but we don’t really have enough time to cover the different types of stress and the detrimental effects cortisol can have on the body and brain.
Cortisol is a vital neurochemical that is released in times of acute stress to illicit the fight or flight response. It is essential for our survival.
However, chronic stress not only has detrimental affects on our physical health but it also negatively impacts our brain.
The most common cause of visits to the doctor are for stress-related health complaints. It can make us vulnerable to everything from depression to cancer to the common cold and to heart disease.
There is no doubt that chronic stress is a killer.
This is where laughter comes in……
The aim is to create positive brain chemistry and laughter is one of the most powerful and quickest ways of achieving that.
Laughter can change our body chemistry in a flick of a switch.
Upon laughter, whether conditional or unconditional, the secretion of cortisol diminishes and the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, is triggered. which, in turn facilitates a state of relaxation and peace in the body.
In the very moment of laughter your focus on the stress is diverted – it puts us in control of our own emotions. And remember, when you are laughing it is hard to concentrate on anything else – you can’t talk properly, arms can flail, legs have a life of their own, we might spray out our drink if we’re taking on refreshments and, on exhalation, our voices make the weirdest of noises. In fact, we can also lose control of some bodily functions – yes, you know who you are.
As well as laughter, here are some other ways we can keep our brain mentally fit and keep stress levels in check.
think happy thoughts,
have a gratitude practice,
think empowering thoughts,
think motivating thoughts,
listen to uplifting music.
Laughter cannot take away our problems but it can change the way we react to them.
The Psychology Today article below discusses how chronic stress and high levels of cortisol create long-lasting brain changes.