Slow Down and Laugh

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu

Public Service Announcement: In a world that glorifies busy, it’s okay to be happy with a calm life. In fact, I fully encourage all of us to slow down and take time to love and laugh!

Today’s world is filled with to-do lists, so-called urgent deadlines, and mounting pressures from all sides. It has gotten to a point where it is actually looked upon with reverence when someone responds with “I’m so busy” when asked how they are doing. Many of us are constantly rushing from one thing to the next and forgetting to take the time to truly experience and enjoy each moment as it is happening. I have to wonder – is this a good thing? Is all of this overbooking and biting off more than we can chew really something to be admired as something to strive for?

Let me start by saying that this is an opinion (and life experience) piece, so it is fully okay if you don’t agree with what I’m about to say (ahem…write). However, studies have shown that rushing and constantly keeping oneself “busy” is actually a trauma response of the limbic system. The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for letting our minds and bodies know how to respond to the things that happen in our lives, and though it is a magnificent part of our being, it is also fragile in the way that it can sometimes get stuck in a trauma loop when faced with prolonged periods of stress or a traumatic and traumatizing event.

When the limbic system is stuck in a trauma loop, it is in fight, flight, freeze, and/or fawn mode, and both rushing and staying overly busy correspond to the flight part of that. You see, when one goes through a traumatic experience, the brain can get stuck in the mode of avoidance and panic. When this happens, it tells the body and mind to keep rushing from one thing to the next to avoid having to think about or deal with that trauma, because it feels that it is too much for it to handle. So, though a lot of people don’t realize it, all that rushing and busyness can actually be a trauma response that has been learned through life experiences and stresses. The more we give in to that rushing and staying overly busy, the more we strengthen that loop and trauma response. The good news is that the brain is changeable, bendable, and renewable (technically speaking, the brain is neuroplastic), so this can be fixed!

Due to the brain’s neuroplastic nature, the limbic system can be trained to stop a trauma loop in the same way that it was trained to start that trauma loop. It just takes a little effort on our part. One of the most effective ways to rewire a trauma loop is to acknowledge when it is happening, interrupt it, think or do the opposite of it, and kindly reassure yourself and your limbic system that this is okay. Over time, with repetition, this creates and strengthens a new loop, and as that loop becomes stronger than the old one, the limbic system starts to travel it more often until it becomes our natural state and response. For example, in terms of the loops responsible for rushing and staying overly busy, someone could work to rewire that loop using the following approaches:

  • If one catches themselves rushing, PAUSE…slow down, and then proceed with what you were doing in an exaggeratedly slow manner, while calmly reassuring yourself that this is okay. A great way to calmly reassure yourself is through gentle laughter.
  • If one catches themselves thinking thoughts such as “I’ve got to get this done NOW”, interrupt the thought with something like “Hush”, “Stop”, or “Calm”, and gently and calmly replace it with an opposite thought, such as “I have all the time that I need” or “Everything will get done exactly when it needs to get done”. Finally, follow all this up with some light laughter.
  • If one has plans, and something else comes up that will be cutting it close in terms of time to do both things, simply say “no” to the new thing, or see if it is possible to schedule it for a time when there is nothing that you will have to rush to get done beforehand or rush to get to afterwards. After doing this, acknowledge any “false” feelings of guilt or any thoughts of self-sabotage, take a deep breath, counteract those feelings and thoughts with a true statement, such as “I am allowed to say no” or “Taking care of my energy is my priority”, and then follow it up with some soft chuckles.

Take your time with each task, and don’t over schedule. Be gentle with yourself, and with your time. Take each moment as it comes, take things slow, and be okay with that, regardless of what anyone else says. And always, always follow it up with some smiling and some gentle laughter. Why? Your brain does not know the difference between real and fake laughter, so when you laugh gently, you are telling your limbic system that all is well and that you are comfortable and happy to be slowing down and setting healthy boundaries. It also helps the body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, releasing calming hormones into the body. Thus, in moments of rushing or taking on too much, it is of the upmost importance to remember to acknowledge, interrupt, breathe, slow down, and laugh.

Using laughter as a means of reassurance that it is completely fine, and actually good, to interrupt a thought about rushing or to break up a moment when you catch yourself rushing is excellent for training the limbic system that it is okay to slow down and enjoy the present moment. Moreover, practicing laughter yoga regularly helps to solidify this thought pattern of slowing down and being okay with a calm and peaceful existence into your brain. Laughing is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to training the mind to be still, present, and to stop jumping from one thing to the next.

So the next time you find yourself rushing through life, remember to ACKNOWLEDGE, INTERRUPT, BREATHE, SLOW DOWN, and LAUGH. Love yourself by giving laughter yoga a try if you haven’t already. Your true peaceful and tranquil state can be restored, and it’s just a few chuckles away. Slow down and laugh!

To learn more, follow along with my blog and videos on this site, follow Loving and Laughing Laughter Yoga on social media, and subscribe to the Loving and Laughing Laughter Yoga YouTube channel! Also, check out the events/announcements page on this site for fun events and exciting news in the laughter yoga realm! Sending love and laughter to all of you!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only. One should always consult with their doctor or medical professional before taking on any sort of new exercise program.


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