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The Healing Power of Silliness

Any parent of a 4-year-old and 2-year old will admit that things tend to get pretty silly in their house. Add in an AxSpa diagnosis, and silliness becomes a core part of healing. My husband, Keegan, has always been known for being a bit silly. But what I didn’t realize was just how critical comedy would be for him to sustaining a happy and healthy life with AxSpa. Some days I wonder if it’s really the only medicine that gets him through the day.

For real? Being silly helps with AxSpa?

Believe it or not, it’s not just anecdotal for our family. There are shown emotional, mental, and social benefits for being sillier in life. Here are some examples of how being silly can help those with AxSpa.

Stress relief

Stress often puts Keegan in a flare-up. (And for many others, stress is the main cause of their flare-ups.) Engaging in silliness can provide a temporary escape from these stressors and promote laughter, which releases feel-good hormones, like endorphins. Endorphins improve mood, reduce anxiety, and create a sense of relaxation and well-being.

Social bonding

There’s no doubt that those with AxSpa struggle at times with social isolation, as many may struggle to participate in activities or feel self-conscious. Sharing in silly moments with friends, family, or support groups can foster connections and help break down barriers. It allows individuals to let their guard down, building a sense of camaraderie and understanding among people with similar experiences.

Emotional well-being

Embracing silliness produces a profound impact on well-being. By encouraging individuals to express themselves authentically and find joy in the present moment, silliness can promote self-acceptance and foster a positive outlook on life. This, in turn, can help build resilience and make it easier to cope with the challenges that come with living with AxSpa. Recently, Keegan started a daily series of Instagram videos in which he breaks an apple open with his hands. Why? Because it’s silly.

Cognitive flexibility

Silliness can stimulate the brain and encourage cognitive flexibility, thanks to the psychology of creativity, which is essential for problem-solving and adapting to new situations. This can be particularly helpful for AxSpa patients, who may need to find creative solutions to manage their symptoms and maintain their quality of life.

Pain management

While silliness cannot cure AxSpa, it can help to better cope with discomfort. Laughter has been shown to increase pain tolerance and provide a distraction from chronic pain. This can make it easier for patients to manage their symptoms and find enjoyment in everyday activities.

What are some quick and easy ways to be sillier?

  • Find humor in everyday situations, even if it's just laughing at a funny TV show or sharing a joke with a friend. Keegan and I find time every night to share silly memes and videos we saw on social media.
  • Engage in playful activities, such as board games, puzzles, or simple crafts. Board games, especially those with minimal instructions, provide the space in our family to goof off and relax.
  • Try improvisational exercises or role-playing to stimulate creativity and promote laughter. We’re big fans of tabletop roleplaying games, like Dungeons & Dragons. There are TONS of options that a local game shop can point out for beginners to advanced players.
  • Participate in group activities, such as yoga or silly-themed support group meetings, where you can bond with others and share in the joy of silliness. I’ve been shocked by the number of silly Meetup groups here in Pittsburgh!
  • Be open to trying new experiences and stepping outside your comfort zone to discover new sources of laughter and enjoyment. For instance, Keegan and I went axe throwing and now it’s one of our favorite activities we do together.

No matter where you are in your AxSpa journey, finding moments to laugh and stay positive is critical to keeping afloat through the stress, pain, and exhaustion. Whenever I make Keegan laugh, I always see how much it helps him get through tough moments and help us connect as a family. So—how do you stay silly?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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