how to achieve immediate stress relief

I was in a taxi with my 11-year-old Jack yesterday. It was a special outing to get him a new skateboard at Vans.

“I’m a tween now, which is right before becoming a teenager,” he told me with a sly smile, knowing I immediately lose it at the thought of my baby boy heading into the teen zone.

“…and I bet you can’t make me laugh.”

Since he was a baby, he regularly asks me to play “Alligator,” a tickle torture game that my dad used to play with me and my siblings as kids.

In the game, Jack has to hold his arms across his chest and I try to wrestle them open (let me tell you it’s a work out to wrestle this kid). Once I get his arms pinned open, I give him a giant tickle torture, the kind where he has to beg me to stop, if only to breathe.

As he gets older, I notice that some things have been lost to the childhood years, but tween or not – he still loves to be tickled.

So in the taxi today, he recognized it was a little too difficult to play Alligator so he simply said, “Okay mom, try to make me laugh.”

And so the tickling began, until eventually, he cracked up.

So did I!

It got me thinking about when and why we stop laughing, and when a child begins to feel that he or she has to “grow up.”

When do the worries of the world begin to weigh on us to the point of making it harder to fully release?

Why do we laugh less and less as we get older?

Do teenagers need to laugh more?

Do we?

I began to explore the idea of laughing yoga, something my friend Vanessa has been curious about for quite some time.

Laughing yoga aims to “cultivate joy, bring out your inner child, and help you let go of daily life stressors.”

It’s based on the believe that voluntary laughter provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. I’m fascinated by the merging of these two things – laughing and yoga.

I love yoga.

And I believe that laughter is the best medicine.

And get this? The Mayo Clinic agrees!

Science shows that laughter can stimulate many of your internal organs. It enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Read: immediate stress relief.

Are you ready for more? Laughter is also a total body workout! I’m not kidding. Blood pressure is lowered, and there is an increase in blood flow. Laughter is proven to give your abs, face, legs and back a good workout. I mean….I’m not saying stop going to the gym. Even if it’s now in your living room.

I’m just suggesting that it’s healthy to laugh a little more…

Given that it’s good for your body, mind and soul, try voluntarily laughing.

Or better yet, surround yourself with people who encourage your spontaneous laughter and bring you joy.

You can start with the people right in front of you – tickle your kids tonight, and please don’t hold back on those teens.

They need to laugh as much as you do. Or try tickling your partner and see where that lands you.

Hopefully somewhere fun.

Most of all, remember that laughing is contagious and you’ll get even more than what you give!!

With fierce love,
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