Creating energy for living with a heart condition. In this episode, I will introduce you to another of my mindsets that I think underpins our emotional recovery after a cardiac event.
To gain energy to fuel your ‘new normal’ this is your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Having energy gave me motivation and drive to want more from each and every day. No more I’ll do it tomorrow as tomorrow may never come.
I will talk about how you can find energy boosts. How laughter can be a quick fix to improve how you feel about yourself and your life. Along with how you can find the funny.
- Why you need energy to fuel your recovery
- How energy can help you move forward
- Where I got my energy during my rehabilitation
- Using laughter to heal
- The 16 activities to find the fun factor
- What thoughts might stop you using the laughter activity and what you can do to change them
- Download my Free Finding Laughter Cheat Sheet of nearly 100 films, series, books and songs that will put a smile on your face.
- Join me on Facebook in the My Heart & Mind Podcast Community.
If you prefer a read → Creating energy for living with a heart condition
Having energy was an important factor in my recovery both physically and emotionally. It gave me motivation and drive to want more from each and every day. No more I’ll do it tomorrow as tomorrow may never come. Energy for living with a heart condition is crucial to fuel the creation of your ‘new life’ and any recovery. Your new life is your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
In this instance, I am talking about emotional energy. It’s been found to influence decision making, thought processes, memories, and present experiences.
Emotional energy is hard to describe. It’s like you want to do something and you have the physical energy to do it. You’re not scared, you have the time but you just can’t get yourself to do it. Without the emotional energy to take action, it feels impossible to make changes in your life.
It is important to have high emotional energy when finding your new way of being. It will give you the ability to understand, deal with your new situation. Emotional energy is vital to your happiness levels.
Maybe we don’t have the ability or strength, like me not being able to do martial arts without significant risk. But the ‘feeling’ of being full of power and life gives me the ability to follow through on my hopes and ambition. There is life after a chronic illness.
Determination and enthusiasm are fundamental to making changes to your lifestyle and mindset. Having a heart-related illness can make you feel overwhelmed. It seems like there is a huge amount of change that’s required. Having emotional energy will see you through. Set a goal and aim for it.
As Tony Robbins says, “energy flows where attention goes”. To get what you really want in life, you need a clear goal that has purpose and meaning behind it.
Energy for living with a heart condition
There are many benefits to having emotional energy. Having energy creates a reduction in worrying and guilty thoughts. You learn how to say no and remember that NO can be a full sentence. You’re more able to set healthy boundaries. Decisions and choices based on your needs and wants, not the expectation of others.
When I first came home from the hospital I was as weak as a kitten. As I looked forward (and sometimes even now) I couldn’t see how I was going to get my joy of life back (ok so maybe not joy!!!). During my recovery I was so tired both physically and mentally (fatigue) I felt a failure and that I was a burden.
Then I read a book called ‘The Luck Factor’ written by Dr Richard Wiseman. I was gripped, I couldn’t put it down. I sent it as a gift to two of my friends as it was life-changing for me. This is a story for another day but it’s enough to say that after reading that book, I came to believe I am lucky.
My new belief raised my energy, I was still physically tired but my emotional energy was through the roof. I chose life and I chose luck. This created many changes in how I was feeling. Having emotional energy helps you to choose fulfilling experiences. It gives you the ability to embrace life to its full potential.
Go after the funny!
Laughter has been used for many years as it is a natural form of treatment and the release of feel good chemicals. It’s part of our survival system, from our limbic brain. It tells us what is good and safe, that we should go after more.
It provides so many benefits for your physical, emotional, and social well-being. Some of the benefits of using laughter are that it can relieve stress, tension and anxiety. It can relax the whole body. Having energy when living with a heart condition helps to diminish or fear and it creates energy. Laughter improves your mood generally and adds joy to your life.
It can also boost your immune system and release endorphins to relieve pain.
Treating laughter as an exercise will keep your funny muscles strong. For those like us that have heart health concerns, laughter is said to help prevent heart disease. It increases blood flow and improves the function of your blood vessels. Laughter raises your energy for living with a heart condition.
Practice laughing with a wide grin and a deep belly chuckle. You’ll feel better afterwards. Enjoy everything you do. Respect your limitations and remember a smile is as good as a laugh if that’s all you feel up to today.
Always check your care plan before taking any physical activity. Depending on where you are in the healing process will dictate the activities you can do. Take care if you’ve had surgery and check that it’s safe for you to laugh out loud. If not, then give yourself some space and pay close attention to my thoughts around smiling. Just give yourself time to heal.
The process ~ In search of laughter ….
Smiling and laughter is definitely top of my list. A true belly laugh will ‘shake up’ your insides in a good way. Genuine laughing (which makes your face ache) is thought to release fear. Laughter is inexpensive and is available to everyone. You can create it, find it, share it and it is a habit that you can learn too. It is also infectious.
Please note this article was written during the Coronavirus lockdown so not everything is achievable due to social distancing. I have included them as the lockdown is easing and the future will be different and we’ll be able to share a laugh together.
1) Laughter yoga
(Hasyayoga) is a practice of prolonged voluntary laughter. It’s believed that fake laughter can provide the same benefits as spontaneous laughter.
2) Get on the internet
You can find loads of funny laugh-inducing videos to watch. The more silly, irrelevant, stupid, frivolous the better. Save your favourites so you can return to them another time.
I have friends that swear by YouTube. Check out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. They have plenty of videos, groups, hashtags and boards dedicated to fun and laughter.
3) Netflix, Amazon etc
Find a funny film to watch, ask friends for recommendations. It could be a fun series that you’ve seen before or even something you’ve not tried before. Perhaps you’d rather watch a stand-up comedian, find out what is available. I don’t think you can beat a good carry on film though – my favourite is ‘Carry on screaming’.
4) Tune in to the TV, Radio or Podcast
Find some funny sitcoms, sketches, films or series. Check out some podcasts too, there is lots of choices.
5) Smile more
Practice smiling as much and as often as you can. This allows your body to naturally get ready to laugh. Your body responds unconsciously to the sensation of smiling and assumes laughter will come.
6) Take that look off your face
Have you noticed that many people’s resting face is a bit of scowl? My daughter makes me laugh when she talks about people having resting b*tch faces – I’ve seen hers! Go check out yours in the mirror. Begin training yourself to develop the habit of smiling as often as possible. When you’re working, jogging, cooking dinner or browsing Facebook.
7) Laughter therapy
This therapeutic technique aims to get people laughing in sessions. The sessions take place either one to one or in groups.
8) Don’t force laughter
I know it contradicts what I said earlier about laughter therapy, laughter yoga and that you can fake it to make it. By this what I mean is sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves. To accept where we are at, let the not so good feelings be recognised and welcomed, then get on with the day. Acceptance is the quickest path to transforming how you feel.
9) Force yourself to laugh
Yes, a direct contradiction to my last point, but remember what I have said even a fake laugh or smile works. Make yourself laugh at something, start off in as a big, fake, forced laugh and make it as weird as possible. Snort with laughter, make it high pitched, make it musical or a braying ‘hee-haw’ like a donkey. You will start laughing for real.
10) Surround yourself with people who make you laugh
If you’re feeling down and having trouble learning to laugh. It is unlikely to improve if you are surrounding yourself with “Debbie Downers and Marvin Moaners”. Instead of socialising with people who bring you down, hang out with your friends that are always uplifting, happy and make you laugh.
11) Chuckle with children
When my daughter was a toddler I used to get great pleasure by spending time with her. It was always fun and laughter watching and listening to her and her friends playing. Kids say and do the most hilarious things. They are so inquisitive and fearless they have no inhibitions to hold them back. Watch them play, join in with them, watch their antics on TV or YouTube.
12) Spend time with pets
Whether it be dogs, cats, spiders or horses if you or someone you know has a pet go play. Although if it’s a spider or a snake not sure about the playing thing. Walking my dog, Milla and watching her run and play with other dogs always makes me smile. It’s so funny when they do something daft. Watching my cats play with anything containing Catnip has me in gales of laughter. If you haven’t a pet of your own, ask one of your friends if you can share. Why not volunteer at an animal charity there are many local and national charities. It’s not only dogs and cats, but hedgehogs, birds of prey and donkeys too.
13) Remember to laugh at yourself
Be kind, I am not saying be mean, of course. Try not taking yourself or anyone else too seriously. Take a breath and a step back and see the ridiculous in certain situations. We all do silly, daft or embarrassing things, one way to turn this around into something more positive is to have a laugh about it.
14) People watch
When you are out and about try people watching. Take a few moments to look around when in a traffic jam, on a bus or out shopping. I’m pretty certain you will find something that will put a smile on your face and perhaps cause a giggle and a laugh. It can be particularly amusing as you don’t have the context for their behaviour. Don’t be mean though as laughing at others can be hurtful.
15) Let out your inner child
Do something really silly, perhaps something you loved doing when you were a child.
Skipping, cartwheels, sky and cloud watching, rolling down hills, making snow angels, making a snowman, jump in puddles, throw peanuts or popcorn into a friend’s mouth (try doing it on your own too).
Why not play a game that you did as a child. (such as tiddlywinks, jacks/stones, marble on a drain cover etc.
Video yourself rocking out to your favourite music. Sing along with your hairbrush as your mike and then play it back. I promise you don’t have to share it with anyone unless you want to.
When you’re feeling really frustrated, grumpy or cross, have a temper tantrum. Try a full out crying, screaming and stamping of the feet, it usually ends up with laughter.
16) Go to a comedy show
Even better than watching TV is actually going to a live comedy show. When you go to a show, it’s the comedian’s job to make you laugh. They love doing it, and the whole purpose is to have you laughing out loud. If you want a night out, more laughter in your life and to be in good company then a comedy club or a comedy show is worth a go.
Find at least one fun thing to do each day for the next week. Use laughter to raise energy for living with a heart condition. Here are 16 ideas to help you bring more laughter, joy and energy in your life. Look out for the free download of nearly 100 films, books, tv-series and songs that have an upbeat theme.
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My Heart & Mind, Emotional Cardiac Rehab Community
Don’t keep it to yourself, let me know how you get on our group. Share with us your funny jokes, videos, photos or anything that makes you feel happy and puts a smile on your face. Share with others the energy for living with a heart condition.
What thoughts could get in your way?
I have had a sense of humour transplant, I never laugh!
???? What! Not even a smile. I used to think I had too, but what I have found is that I have a different sense of humour. Once I stopped comparing myself and my sense of humour to what others found hysterical, I found my own vibe. Sometimes it’s the same as others and sometimes I just don’t get it. I’m ok with that though.
I have an awful laugh; it is so embarrassing!
???? Says who? Are they responsible for you not laughing and feeling really good? If you do have one of those laughs, I can assure you that anyone that cares about you truly doesn’t mind. I would guess if you follow the tip around laughing at yourself it will even increase your happiness factor.