*transcript from podcast episode Laugh it Off: Relieving Stress as a Mom*
Have you ever had one of those days where you put the dinner in the oven and set the timer and then when the timer goes off you realize you never turned the oven on?
Or when you want to impress your mother-in-law or friends or someone you think is important and your kids talk about how loudly you farted the other night?
I feel like as a mom - you’re going to have those days more frequently than not - and shoot - it might even be an hour by hour thing sometimes.
And you know - there are a few ways that you can handle those situations - one is that you can freak out about yourself and your kid and catastrophize the entire thing and tell yourself that you are terrible and your kid is a failure and an embarrassment and you can then even go hide in a whole somewhere and come out again when you are sure that you have it all together. Two - you can pretend it never happened. Just sweep it under the rug like an emotionless turtle - just hiding your life as you go and never letting others know that it even bothered you in the first place, (which let me tell you in turn can probably have some devastating effects on your little ones but that’s a story for another day amiright?!)
Or three - and this is my close, personal favorite - you can laugh it off. What? Shannon, are you telling me that if something super embarrassing happens to me in the front of the line at Target and everyone is waiting on my kids and I to get out of there that I should just laugh it off?
Well what if I am really angry because my kid just drew all over her beautiful face with a permanent marker and she looks like groucho marx and I can’t get it off and she has pictures tomorrow?!
Laugh it off.
Laugh it off! Look at the alternatives. Neither of them seem like they are really going to help you in the long run - one you are minimizing and hiding and shoving things down, and the other you are blowing up like a dang balloon and you are going to pop all over the place - I’m saying, let the uncomfortable emotion hit you, for like a second, and then get back on top of things and realize how stupid the situation is and laugh!
I do it. People all the time ask me how I can be so happy - and girls, I get stressed - let me tell you. I’m not saying oh someone just died so start laughing like a maniac.
I'm saying let it go. Let these things slip off your back and turn the narrative on its head by laughing your head off in the middle of the store in front of strangers when your kid says something weird. Again.
Have you ever heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine? It’s true:helpguide.org says laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.
I mean don’t we all want that, guys? A way to strengthen the community and make ourselves feel better sooner? I do. I mean - sometimes I don;t, I'm not going to lie.
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Laughter burns calories. Okay, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
I will say - what’s the deal with laughter anyways. Like, try explaining it to some alien that had never experienced before - they wouldn’t understand.
You’re like - well the diaphragm starts to jump rhythmically and quickly producing a sound that is a mix between a duck quacking and a loud whisper, and sometimes while it’s happening you can simultaneously wet your pants and cry. It’s amazing.
Oh - and maybe you have a beautiful smile and never get a double chin when you laugh - and you look great - but others turn into like……a sea monster with teeth bared, eyes squinted, cheeks red and flushed and head thrown back in abandon. But I mean - that’s part of it too.
It’s such a physical thing - and people can see that!
They can see when you are really embarrassed or stressed or angry too - you might think that you know how to hold it in and hide it, but anyone that can tell body language will know. And how much better would it be to leave everyone with a feeling of calm and peace and good humor?!
My mom used to get frustrated at me when I was younger because I would laugh at situations that were stressing her out. And she used to tell me that when I had kids I would understand.
But I gotta tell you - that stuff is still cracking me up. I mean, life is crazy and unpredictable guys - and it’s super funny. I’m not saying I laugh all day like some weird hyena - but I will say that as a senior in highschool I was voted best laugh in the school - so there’s that.
Remember to just laugh it off. You are more important than whatever little thing is before you stressing you out or embarrassing you - you can laugh and switch everyone’s day into something different - and it ‘s so powerful! Keep that good humor with you - God made you and loves you and thinks you’re wonderful - and with that in mind - what in the world could ever make you feel stupid or dumb?
So - to end - I have a joke for you listeners out there. I, for one, am a fan of corny jokes - so here goes for you 90’s kids out there.
"How do you find Will Smith in a snowstorm?"
"Look for the fresh prints."
Alright friends! Thanks for coming back - remember you can now actually rate me on Spotify supposedly! Please do so - or rate me on anything that you listen to , that would be so great! You can follow me on Facebook or Instagram, and visit my site at www.nestingwiththeearleybirds.com