10/14/2012 10:08 am ET Updated Dec 14, 2012

Laughing at Change

Toward the end of 2011, I thought to myself, "What if 2012 really is the ominous year of transformation and change that's been predicted?" An out with the old, in with the new type of thing sounded pretty good to me, so I got all excited about it. I thought, "Bring it on!" I was ready to take change and transformation by the horns and get on and ride! At least, I thought I was.

I guess my romantic nature imagined some kind of turquoise and violet metamorphosis, as if a wispy wind would come down from the heavens and swirl around me and I'd emerge as gracefully as the arrival of a new moon. Not hardly. I have to admit, this has not been the easiest year of my life. I don't know about you, but the changes 2012 has brought about in my life have turned me every which way but loose.

Some people don't want to talk or think that way. They say, "But look at all the good that came out of it." Okay, well, sure, there have been some good things. For example, I've learned how to keep breathing even when the mortgage is due the same day the paycheck is "supposed" to hit the bank account. And I can wholeheartedly assert that an abrupt change of employment, as I now choose to call it, can be the best thing to ever happen to you. This past year I did my own privately-unfunded research and noticed how my body responds and reacts, sometimes immediately, to whatever is going on in my interior life. And I'm here to testify that eating energetically-alive foods is extremely important when you're dealing with stressful situations.

So 2012, at least for me so far, has been a year of learning. It made me realize that I've accumulated a whole arsenal of wonderfully powerful tools and techniques that can help me through difficult times if I choose to use them. Things like prayer and faith, meditation and yoga, music, vitamins, love, persistence, honesty, communication, and trust.

But do you know what the number one thing that helped me through it all was? The one tool that was the most accessible and easiest to implement? The one that didn't wear me out, that I didn't have to try to fit into my schedule, and actually didn't cost me any money?


That's it. Just laugh about it. Laugh at the fat! Laugh at the failure! Laugh about the bizarre actions of friends or family! Laugh about the empty pockets! Laugh, and I guarantee you'll feel better. Even for just a few moments, your body will relax, your breathing will be deeper, you'll feel lighter, and your face will unscrunch.

Now some of you are going to lap up this idea like a labrador at a water bowl on a hot day. Others are going to give me a stern, scrunched up look and say, "some things just aren't funny."

You're absolutely right. Some of us have faced some pretty rough times lately. But during hyper-stress days of change, you only add to the weight of the burden if you allow yourself to wallow in the depths of gloom and despair.

Research confirms this. In 2005, a study at the University of Maryland found that watching war films caused blood vessels to constrict. Watching comedies, on the other hand, increased blood flow and lowered blood pressure.

And here's my favorite. Researchers at Texas A&M found that humor can significantly increase a person's level of hopefulness.

So, brush up on some side-splitters to share with your friends at lunchtime. And when you find yourself stuck in traffic, let go with a big belly laugh. Ha! Ha! I laugh at you, slowpoke cars in front of me! Listen to YouTube clips of your favorite comedians when you're ironing or fixing dinner and definitely watch comedies before you go to bed. You'll sleep better.

In the words of one of the funniest people on the planet, Bill Cosby, "If you can find humor in something, you can survive it."

For more by Lorna Bright, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.