“Laughter is simply a smile heard out loud, that echoes happiness and love.”
~The Coach from Raise Your Mind
My uncle and I were a year apart. We were thick as thieves growing up and our bonding usually involved something super funny (to us at least). Our laugh feast usually got us in trouble with my grandfather and his dad. He would literally scold us and demand we stop laughing. The more he yelled the more we laughed. Through the years this childhood pastime has proven to be a great buffer for me and the research backs me up (LOL!)
Benefits of a good laugh
I truly enjoy simply observing behavior and the older I get the more I notice how little adults laugh. Everything is so serious and intense. The countless meetings where you can cut the tension with a knife and any signs of humor somehow communicates being a slacker. The body of scientific research proves that laughter has physical, mental, and social benefits.
- Laughter tickles our lungs, heart, and muscles by generating more oxygen.
- Stress and negative thinking weakens our immune system. A good hearty laugh releases the antibodies that help fight infection.
- Chronic stress contributes to weight gain. A good belly laugh reduces stress hormones and burns calories.
Mental Health Perks
- Laughter helps give the brain a time-out. By not focusing on the projects or deadlines for just a few minutes gives the brain an opportunity to reset and lower stress hormones.
- Humor gives us nice doses of “feel good” hormones endorphins. These boost happiness levels and promote a positive mood.
- Laughter has the power to diffuse anger and depression. This promotes a sense of well-being and annihilates a bad mood. Laughter is a great mood enhancer.
- Infusing laughter strengthens relationships. Lately, watching the Netflix Series the UpShaws as a family has been a great relationship builder. Laughing together and sharing our favorite scene has been pure joy.
- Laughter is a magnet and attracts others to us. People want to be around funny and happy folks.
- Laughter helps to diffuse tense situations. A little dose of humor can shift a perspective and gives people the opportunity to re-engage with a more positive outlook.
How to sprinkle laughter into your life
This is where the fun and magic happens. The recommendations are not exhaustive but a great place to start weaving laughter as a critical part of your self-care. Here are my top 10:
- Start following a funny meme account.
- Subscribe to a fun YouTube Channel.
- Subscribe to a funny podcast.
- Create a movie list of your favorite funny movies.
- Laugh at yourself.
- Surround yourself with some playful people.
- Be more spontaneous.
- Attend/Establish a game night.
- Goof around with children.
Strengthen your funny bone
My dad was extremely funny. His timing and wit was pretty impressive. So, sharing my space with him always included laughter and it’s pervasive in our home today. Unlike my grandfather, I love a house filled with laughter. If you want to level up your humor game here are a few tips for developing that funny bone.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously, lighten up.
- Search for humor even in bad situations.
- Post funny sayings or thoughts around the house.
- Keep a journal of funny things that happen.
- Avoid negative people.
- Tap into the kid in you.
- Commit to laughing everyday
- Don’t run away from stress
- Engage in some silly activities
- Share a corny joke with friends and colleagues
Life is challenging and can really throw us some curveballs. But, life is also beautiful and full of opportunities to laugh, be playful, and express joy through laughter. It’s affirming to know science is supporting the tremendous benefits of laughter, but in the end it just feels damn good to laugh. If I haven’t convinced you yet, people that laugh live longer.