Laughter is nature’s medicine for what ails you. Not only has it been proven to reduce stress and help manage pain but it can also serve as an effective outlet to help battle mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Laughter can increase your blood flow, boost your immune system, impact your blood sugar level and help reduce aggression. In addition to this, it gives your body a short burst of, dare I say it. . .exercise. With all these benefits and more, laughter really can help to improve your mood and your overall health.
It has been said that the average 5-year-old laughs 300 times a day but the average adult, only 4. If laughter is the best medicine, then we as adults need to seriously get our funny back. Michael Pritchard said, “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want to stay young for as long as possible and one way to do that is to laugh like a child by finding the funny in life.
Here is a list of ways you can find the funny in your life.
• Learn what makes you laugh. Everyone has a funny bone but not all of them work the same. Some people like slapstick humor whereas others like witty jokes. Some like watching funny videos while others like laughing with friends. We are all different and what makes us laugh is as different as we are. Find what tickles your funny bone and make sure to incorporate it into your daily routine.
• Keep a funny file. Keep a file of things that make you laugh, whether it’s pictures, jokes, videos, stories, articles, books, or even the phone numbers of people who just make you want to smile because of their witticism. Let’s face it, there are going to be days when you are not going to feel much like laughing. Those are the days where your funny file becomes your life saver.
• Make time to laugh. Sometimes life gets busy and that’s serious business. If you’re anything like me, I am so busy being serious and responsible that I forget life is also meant to have joy. If it’s difficult for you to laugh, then set aside time in your schedule where you will allow yourself the freedom to let everything else go and learn to laugh. This may seem forced at first but as you give yourself permission every day to let loose and laugh, you will find that you are happier and less stressful, and you are more prepared to face the rest of your day. Use your funny file for inspiration.
• Spend time playing with children. Children laugh at everything, and they say the funniest things if you really stop to listen to them while they play. They aren’t afraid to be silly and spontaneous, carefree and happy. When you play with a child, if you really make an effort, you can’t help but laugh with them and all of those beautiful childlike characteristics of happiness start rubbing off on you.
• Plan a game night with friends. Once a month, my husband and I host a neighborhood game night, and it is something we look forward to every month. We play silly group board games, have treats and get to know those who come. But most of all, it is a night full of laughter. We laugh at jokes, we tell stories, we laugh at answers to questions and we enjoy one another’s company. I love those who come. They are the happiest people I know. When you surround yourself with funny people, you can’t help but laugh out loud.
• Learn to laugh at yourself. When talking to others, don’t be afraid to share crazy stories of when you have made epic mistakes. These stories could bring big laughs, not only for others but for yourself. It will help you realize that life doesn’t need to be as serious as you make it. It will also show your friends that you have a lighter side and you’re not afraid to show that you’re not always perfect.
• Laugh at your surroundings. If you are observant, you can always find things in your everyday surroundings that make you laugh. It may be a cat chasing it’s tail, the laughter of a baby or the ridiculousness of a situation. Whatever it is, choose to laugh rather than complain. You will find that if you do, your day will go much smoother and your mood will be happier, too.
• Choose to laugh. Laughter is a choice. When in a difficult situation, rather than allowing it to ruin your day, find something about it that is funny and choose to laugh. If there is nothing funny about the situation, then find something funny and laugh anyway. You always have a choice. Choose to laugh and you will choose to be happy. I recently attended the funeral of a dear friend from high school who died at a young age of cancer. Although the day was hard, my friends and I laughed together as we remembered the memories of our friend. It helped us get through the day and I am certain our friend was looking down on us from heaven laughing with us. Laughter at her funeral was in no way disrespectful. She wouldn’t have had it any other way. She laughed her way through life, even through cancer, and taught us all to do the same.
Yakov Smirnoff said, “I believe laughter is a language of God and that we can all live happily ever laughter.” I believe he is right. If we choose to laugh, we choose to be happy. And if we choose to be happy, we choose to live. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Make sure you get your daily dose.
Tiffany Fletcher, author of “Mother Had a Secret: Learning to Love my Mother and her Multiple Personalities” http://motherhadasecret.blogspot.com/