I bet you’ve never thought about laughing at your money as a legitimate strategy for reaching your financial goals. In a time where everything feels uncertain, and money is a key point of stress in many people’s lives, we need laughter now more than ever before.
But how are we supposed to add laughter into our lives when the situation doesn’t feel funny? Have you ever heard the phrase “fake it till you feel it”? Let me share with you how faking laughter can help you feel better and ultimately improve your relationship with money. But first, a little history on laughter and wellness:
In the 1990s, a medical doctor named Madan Kataria became very interested in the scientific evidence surrounding the benefits of laughter on the body. Laughter can lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, boost the mood, strengthen the immune system, heal chronic health conditions, and can improve the overall quality of a person’s life. The main issue he faced was how to help people laugh more often, even if there wasn’t something humorous to spark their laughter.
When Dr. Kataria reviewed the research, he realized that the body gets the same benefit from engineered laughter, or intentional laughter as it does from genuine laughter, which meant that people could learn to laugh on their own without humor. He developed a set of wellness exercises called Laughter Yoga, which is a blend of deep yogic breathing, and childlike playfulness used to stimulate prolonged laughter. Dr. Kataria started the first Laughter Yoga club at a park in India in 1995, and today there are thousands of clubs in over 100 countries that harness the power of laughter for health.
Though financial freedom and money coaching are my passion. I’ve had a budding interest in Laughter Yoga for several years and in the fall got certified as a laughter yoga leader. I’ve experienced the benefits of laughter first hand — my mood becomes lighter, I feel less anxious and more energized. I started thinking, if this works to help us feel more positive about life, this would work to help us feel more positive about money.
In keeping with that thinking, I’ve come up with a few ways that you can incorporate laughter into your financial planning. Here are three ways that laughter can help you reach your financial goals:
1. Laughter Can Reduce Your Anxiety About Money
Whether you’re stressing about paying this month’s bills, worrying over your investment portfolio that has taken a hit in the current crisis, or feeling paralyzed when you look at your debt, laughter can reduce your stress. When you laugh for a prolonged period of time, you experience an uplifted mood as your body releases endorphins and decreases your stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol levels. Next time you feel that tightness in your chest when you are doing something money related, set a timer for a few minutes and laugh! As you start training your brain to think positively about your money, you’ll feel less anxious which will help you have a positive relationship with your money.
2. Laughter Can Help You Feel More In Control Of Your Financial Situation
Sometimes when we have an intimidating amount of debt or poor spending habits we can feel out of control. Feeling out of control leads to helplessness which can lead to giving up. In my experience, when you laugh at something that feels scary, you take the power back. When you start feeling more control, you’re more likely to act in control and make the choices that will lead to financial wellness.
3. Laughing Increases Oxygen Flow To The Brain Which Can Help You Feel More Energized And Motivated
Next time you are sitting down with your spouse for a budget meeting, or talking about the goals you have and the plan that will get you there, start with laughter. Set a timer, take some deep breaths together, look into each other’s eyes and laugh. You’ll start your meeting with more excitement and energy to dream big and reach your goals.
Okay, but how do we laugh on purpose to get these benefits?
To laugh on command, practice the following steps*:
- Take some deep breaths
- Engage your diaphragm and laugh! Just do it. You’ll feel awkward at first, but soon your body will remember how to laugh at will.
It’s that simple, laughter is a tool you can take with you anywhere.
There are so many important things to do to take control of your finances – make a budget, tackle your debt, spend your money wisely, etc. I hope that you’ll consider adding laughter as a tool that can help you feel great about your money and more motivated to reach your financial goals.
*Disclaimer: Laughter is considered an aerobic exercise, which should only be done if you’re physically able to.
Laughter Yoga University – The Official Website of Dr. Madan Kataria The Laughter Guru
Laughter Yoga International Handbook for Laughter Yoga Leaders