Life can be stressful and, in the current economic climate, we are dealing with challenging and serious concerns - individually and professionally - each and every day. I am here to tell you that there is a remedy that is fun, free and easy to use and it will improve your health, relieve stress, and improve your relationships. What is this magic elixir? It is none other than laughter.
Laughter is contagious! The sound of someone enjoying a good belly laugh infects everyone, even eliciting a tiny smile from the dourest sourpuss within hearing distance. Laughter makes you feel good and that good feeling stays with you even after you quit laughing – for up to 45 minutes, actually. Humor and laughter has helped me keep a positive, optimistic outlook even through sadness and pain. Laughter makes me feel lighter and, during the busy grant season when things can get a bit overwhelming, humor helps me relax and recharge; it relieves my stress which, in turn, improves my focus so I actually accomplish more. I love the laughter break!!
Laughter is also good for your health. Scientific evidence has shown that humor and laughter help people breathe easier and it massages the heart and other vital organs. It may also increase the release of disease-fighting cells in the immune system. Like the effects of exercise, laughter quickens the pulse and stimulates the cardiovascular system. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins promoting an overall sense of well-being and, in some instances, temporary relief from pain. In addition, humor can alleviate negative emotions -it’s hard to feel angry, sad, or anxious when you’re laughing.
Start now to bring more laughter into your life. According to Laughter is the Best Medicine (helpguide.org), here are some things that you can do right now to incorporate humor and laughter into your life.
- Smiling is the beginning of laughter. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
- Count your blessings. Make a list of the good things in your life. Keep a gratitude journal that allows you to focus on the positive. Negative thoughts are barriers to humor and laughter.
- When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but more often it is not. People are happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out.
- Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily – both at themselves and life’s absurdities – and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are infectious.
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