|Sometimes you only have to look around to find something funny....|
"If I don’t laugh, I might cry!" Sound familiar? Laughter really CAN help!
Laughter is a helpful intervention strategy, however, laughing may not come easily when a person is experiencing grief or trauma reactions. It may be difficult for them to let go of their pain long enough to experience humor or pleasure, or they may feel guilty about having fun when things seem to be falling apart. Nonetheless, laughter should be encouraged and normalized.
The benefits of laughter are many:
- Laughter helps lower blood pressure, cortisol levels and decreases pain, all of which are elevated when a person experiences a prolonged and exaggerated stress response.
- Laugher stimulates chemical changes in the brain that help buffer our bodies against the cumulative effects of stress and trauma.
- Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins that elevate mood.
A traumatized person is often stuck in the stress, symptoms and reactions of their trauma experience. Ask your client to be mindful of how their body feels before, during and after a good laugh. Laughter releases tension in the muscles of the face, neck, shoulders and abdomen, all common areas where we tend to hold lots of tension. We can all benefit from laughter!