Laughter helps in many ways during recovery from addiction. It reduces stress, it helps you relax, it improves your immune system, it makes you less prone to illness, it reduces pain, and it helps you stay positive. All of these things are important if you are trying to stay sober or if you just want to be happy.
Unfortunately, the Detox, the treatment and recover early not the most cheerful times in life. It is normal to feel uncomfortable, sick, irritable, depressed, tired and guilty. You may feel overwhelmed with cravings and that you have an impossibly long way to go. Why should I laugh during this time? It may seem like a pointless effort, but it is worth a try. Here are a few tips:
Don't try to force yourself to laugh
It's a bit like trying to force yourself to fall asleep. The cognitive processes that make something fun don't work well under pressure. We often find things funny when we are surprised by something unexpected. It's like an unexpected 'aha!' moment in the shower. You cannot force it and you cannot force yourself to enjoy it. Instead, just try to make room for it. Take time to relax regularly, but don't pressure yourself to laugh.
Do not feel guilty
You may feel like you messed up and harmed people you care about. And that therefore you do not have the right to laugh. However, this punishment is unjustified. During the treatment and recovery you work on your feelings of guilt. You will apologize to others and make it up to you. It is a process that cannot be helped by punishing yourself. Laughing doesn't mean you're not serious about recovery, quite the contrary.
Look for the absurd
Research has shown that veterans were better able to withstand the stress of the fight if they had a dark sense of humor. If you find humor in war, you can certainly find it in an addiction. Addiction drives people to do stupid, desperate things. It may be appropriate to feel guilty about many of those things, but some of them are certainly absurd as well.
Spend time with people who make you laugh
Laughing with other people has twice the benefits. You get the benefits of laughter and you get the benefits of social connection. Laughing with someone shows that you share a common understanding. If you can laugh at yourself and make someone else laugh, all the better.
Laughter is the best medicine
Do you have nothing to laugh at? Forcing yourself to laugh is never good, but you can lend yourself a hand: place your hands on your stomach and smile. Inhale through your nose and exhale with short bursts (make a kind of huh-huh-huh sound). Repeat this a little faster and faster. Eventually your real smile will take over.