The time has come, only one week remains until Christmas and this shall therefore be my final post of 2013. Never fear though. I shall return in January, filled with my usual ramblings and anecdotes! I’d like to think that I’ll find the time to write next week, but I’ll be at my parent’s house and the internet up there isn’t great. It’s probably for the best, always good to have a break from the web now and again. Plus I don’t really plan on leaving the couch except for when I need to snag more nibbles from the kitchen.
To me Christmas is all about family, food and mulled wine (and presents obviously.) I’m looking forward to some rest and maybe board games.
I’ve decided to devote my final post to one simple thing; Laughter. Nope, I won’t be telling a series of bad jokes (I only do that after a few drinks.) I’d like to talk about how much good-humour has helped me over the last year. Learning to laugh at myself, particularly in relation to my anxiety and panic attacks has been so liberating. They really don’t call it the best medicine for nothing!
When I find that I’m becoming agitated and thinking irrational thoughts, I try to ‘take the mick’ out of the situation and laugh. I even told a friend of mine about this and she often helps by getting involved. For example;
Me: I’m worried that I’ll completely lose it in this meeting today and run around the room screaming
Her: That’s cool. If you do then maybe I’ll join in? We could say it’s a new exercise called ‘scream jogging.’
Also, no worries if you’re alone in a situation, there’s still things you can do. For example, a great way to joke with yourself is by imagining that you’re in a film, or rather watching yourself in one (bear with me.) Think about it, if you were watching a comedy and a character starts saying the same weird things that pop into your head then you’d probably find it hilarious!
[Scene = Sat in a café with a colleague. You’re both drinking coffee and reading the paper when suddenly you look up sharply]
You: Bob, everyone in the office hates me.. I just know it. I can see it in their eyes. They think I don’t know, but I know!
Bob: Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.. What the fuck?
You: I’m telling you, Janis looked at me strangely in the lift this morning and Michael never offers to get me a drink. It’s clear, they hate me and hope I get fired.
Bob: [Looks wide eyed into the camera] Have you been smoking something?
You: Only my own rage!
Bob: Janis just lost her cat, so she’s probably feeling a bit down today and Michael never buys anyone a drink… so maybe it’s not about you??
You: [Pause] …. Right. Of course, I know that! Hahahahaha. I’m clearly drunk… can we please forget this conversation ever happened??
Initially it might be hard to laugh at your anxious thoughts because you’re simply not used to doing so. However, once you give it a try you’d be surprised how easy it is. What exactly is funny about the situation, you ask? Well in a nutshell, it’s funny because the thoughts are just so irrational and OTT! You may as well really go for it and say; I think I’m going to grow horns and shoot marshmallows from my arse!
On a serious note, humour has been scientifically proven to be a powerful tool against anxiety and panic attacks. Laughter is a stronger emotion than fear and can therefore diffuse panic in the same way that Carbon Dioxide kills fire.
Laughing or even smiling to yourself sends a very strong message to the brain; I’m OK there’s no danger, you can reduce the anxiety. This is important because it’s one of the most effective ways to communicate with your body. For example, you wouldn’t laugh if you were being attacked by a shark, because you physically couldn’t (you’d be in its mouth after all!) So if you’re giggling to yourself this will prove that everything is ok. Furthermore, laughter releases powerful endorphins into the body (more powerful than the devastating adrenalin that panic attacks trigger.) These endorphins reduce stress and make you feel instantly happy.
I’m not suggesting that this will be an easy or natural process to begin, as I mentioned previously that this might feel strange. However, I promise that once you start you’ll instantly begin to see results. Perhaps mention to a friend or family member that you’re trying ‘laughter therapy’ and could they help? Whenever you have an irrational thought discuss it with your friend and make fun of it together. Or you could write the thoughts down and laugh about them yourself. Trust me, reading; I’m going to blush so much at this party tonight that I think my face will explode – on a piece of paper is very funny!
Give it a try and see what happens.
Ok, well that’s all folks, the final post of 2013. I hope that everyone has a very happy and relaxing Christmas. Be sure to take it easy and look after yourselves. Try to continue with some form of exercise throughout the holidays, I know that this might be hard but even a brisk 15 minute walk will suffice. Thank you all so much for reading and for your continued support. It truly means so much to me.
I’ll be back in 2014!
Best wishes to all xx