In Pain? Ease It With Some Fun!
Pain is simply no fun. It limits how you live your life and prevents you from enjoying activities you previously loved. While taking pain medication can help to reduce your suffering and get you back on your feet, this isn’t the best solution for a number of reasons. Over time, you might develop a tolerance for this medication, making it less effective. In severe cases, you could even become addicted.
Instead of relying on drugs to find pain relief, why not try some fun? New research shows that laughing and having fun can mimic the painkilling effects of a dose of opioid medication.
How Laughter Controls Pain
A group of scientists recently studied how laughter and fun affect the brain. They were able to determine that laughing helps to release endorphins in a manner similar to heroin. While this sounds scary, it’s actually an incredible discovery because it means that being happy could be a substitute for these medications.
In the study, the researchers also concluded that laughing with a group of people was better than simply laughing alone. Researchers speculate this is because of the tie laughter has with bonding in a social groups. The more you laugh, the more it strengthens your bond with others. Additionally, the effects of pain relief continued to last even after the laughing session was over, for a period of up to 20 minutes.
With this data in mind, you might be wondering how to take advantage of this new discovery. Luckily, there are many ways to inject a little humour into your life.
Relieve Pain With Funny Movies
One way to have a few giggles and reduce your pain is by watching funny television shows, movies or comedic performances. In fact, one study that followed patients in the hospital found that those people who watched comedy videos needed fewer opioid painkillers. Whether you’re a fan of The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd, Monty Python or Johnny English, there are plenty of funny shows and films to hold your interest and distract you from your suffering. Host a movie night with friends or have an outing at the local cinema.
Relieve Pain by Having Creative Fun
Writing, drawing and listening to music are all ways to have a bit of fun and relieve your pain. While they might not have you guffawing and chuckling, they will create a sense of pleasure that can easily distract you from your suffering. In fact, one study showed that chronic pain patients who listened to one hour of music a week had less pain and disability. To optimise these activities, host a paint party with your friends or go to the concert of a band you like. Just be sure not to overexert yourself.
Relieve Pain With Exercise
If you have pain, you might feel like lying in bed all day, but this usually won;t help you feel better. Exercise is a great way to release endorphins, which will give you a sense of euphoria and pain relief. If you’re not sure where to start, try yoga. It’s a gentle and relaxing activity, and people who practised regularly for two months reported a 42 per cent reduction of their back pain. For double the pain reduction, try joining a low-impact group fitness class with your friends. You’ll laugh away your pain as you also work on getting fitter. Make sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before starting a new exercise routine.
The next time you are suffering from aching pain, keep these fun tips in mind. While pain can be frustrating, you can often reduce your symptoms in fun ways. However, do keep in mind that chronic pain conditions should always be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
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Szalavitz, Maia. "It’s No Joke: Why Laughter Kills Pain | TIME.com." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
- Kristy Snyder