Do Humans Seek and Create Meaning (Part 4)?
November 11, 2016 – 4:29 pm | No Comment

Article #918
It is through our perception and connection with all life that we can experience meaning and have a fulfilling life.

Read the full story »
Confidence Building

Articles to help you learn to build and keep genuine self confidence.


Articles that will help you motivate yourself and others.

Getting Organized

Articles that will help to organize and bring order to our chaotic lives.

Boosting Creativity

Articles and tips that will help you boost and improve your personal creativity.


Articles to help inspire you each and everyday.

Home » Confidence Building, Featured, Headline, Inspirational, Motivation, Problem Solving, Self Esteem

Lighten Up, Laugh More, Live Longer: Tips on Releasing Stress

Submitted by on August 31, 2011 – 12:18 amNo Comment

Author: Timothy J O’Brien

Here is an effective technique for releasing stress and maintaining perspective. Norman Cousins used it twice to overcome serious illnesses. Dr. Redford Williams, a psychiatrist at Duke University, suggests it as one of twelve effective ways to reduce chronic cynicism.

It’s not a difficult procedure. It only takes a little practice to become comfortable with it. At first, it is better to use this technique alone. There are three steps to it. They are:

1) Go stand in front of a mirror,

2) Look at yourself straight in the eyes,

3) Now, start laughing!

“Are you serious?” Absolutely. “Why should I?”

Most of us take ourselves far too seriously. By learning to laugh at ourselves we “lighten up,” a little. It makes life more fun, and also helps relieve stress. Remember several of those times in life when you provided the laughter, even if to yourself, when you were alone?

Ever wondered where the phone book went only to find it in the freezer? I have. It must have been my wife. Yes, that’s it, it was her. Or one of my two daughters, but… I was alone.

Laughing at our mishaps and foul-ups helps us keep a better perspective. It helps us realize that not everything is as serious as we sometimes make it.

Humor often allows a forum for expressing feelings that, if presented in other ways, would hurt someone. We need to be careful not to make others the brunt of our jokes. However, well timed humor, or the willingness to be the cause of humor to make a point to the observant, is effective.

Laughing strengthens our immune system. It produces immune system enhancing chemicals that make us more resilient to disease. Norman Cousins, in his book, Anatomy of an Illness, describes how watching Marx Brothers movies helped him laugh his way through a life threatening disease twice.

One of the toxic-risk factors of Type A behavior is cynicism. Left unchecked, it often deteriorates into anger and finally, aggressive behavior.

In his book The Trusting Heart: Good News for Type A Behavior, Dr. Redford Williams recommends laughing at ourselves. We should use it as a way to see the silliness of much of what makes us angry. He suggests that we try to catch ourselves in the act of being cynical. Then he says we should look closely at the act that we have allowed to make us act cynically.

Most instances will reveal a laughably unjustified basis. Do you really believe that the little old man in front of you in the bank line, woke up this morning and decided, “I’ll just go down to the bank today and hold up the people behind me?”

Okay, do you want to strengthen your immune system, keep a better perspective and enjoy life more? Then, it’s back to that mirror, staring yourself straight in the eyes. Think of a time or situation when Shakespeare’s words, “let me play the fool,” were wonderfully fulfilled by your actions. And laugh that knowing laugh that satisfies, heals and entertains.

Article Source:

About the Author

More FREE articles at that will help you improve your performance and regain control of your life. By Timothy J. O’Brien M.S. co-author of the Amazon Best Seller, “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book.”

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

Leave us a suggestion for articles you would like to see. We will do our best to suit your needs! Did this information help? I hope so. Change can be difficult sometimes. Like I always say in my workshops, It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it because you’re worth it! Donations fund Self Esteem Workshops for teens, supply books to schools for the continual support of character education across America, and are tax deductable. Thank you from Self Help Guides!