When was the last time you had a wonderful belly laugh? Not lately? Well, that’s too long!
Laughter is a visceral expression of joy, mirth, happiness and relief. It can relieve pain, connect us to others, and bring greater happiness. It can even increase immunity by reducing the level of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. It contributes to our positive psychology and is the universal language. Even primates laugh.
Laughter is contagious. If you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you laugh more and realize these benefits, too. It’s great stress management for yourself and others. And the best part – it’s convenient and free!
Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough laughter in their lives. A recent study stated that healthy children may laugh 300-400 times per day, while adults tend to laugh only 15 times per day. I wonder if many even reach the 15 times mark. What the heck happened?
Well, many of us were punished for laughing when we were children. Perhaps we laughed inappropriately (in an adult’s eyes), or too loudly when the baby was asleep. Also, as adults, we begin to take ourselves seriously. We allow ourselves to get stressed out. We work too hard. We stay around loud noise and too much electronics.
Let’s look at things we can to do to consciously bring the magic of laughter back:
- TV, movies and videos – Watching hilarious shows is a great way to provoke laughter. Have you seen the YouTube with a baby laughing? It’s contagious.
- Find humor in your life – Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, laugh about them (sometimes easier said than done). Think about something horrendous that happened to you years back. Later, when telling the story, did you and your audience laugh about it? Yes? So why not just laugh now?
- Party or game night at your home with friends – It sets the stage for laughter.
- Make it a point to have fun – What’s your pleasure? In summer, I float down the river in an inner tube on Friday afternoons. I enjoy getting together with girlfriends who innately love to laugh. Laughter is usually a social thing, but sometimes you can laugh all by yourself reading a funny book.
- Some videos on YouTube can make me laugh out loud when I’m alone.
It’s scientifically proven that laughter is good for your health. It magically transforms your mood. It increases your endorphins (the feel-good hormones), reduces stress, aids pain relief and produces a natural high. It’s also a bonding experience when shared. And it can smooth ruffled feathers with a single snort. Look for reasons to laugh today.