Laughing Matters

Without humor and laughter, life would be pretty darn bleak. Laughter not only makes life better, it makes it easier by lightening our load. While it’s not a cure-all, laughter and a sense of humor can help us get through challenging and difficult times — from mistakes, misfires, and mishaps to breakups, illness, and even the loss of a loved one. Laughter is like a balm. It may not take the wounds away, but it sure helps soothe them. If we didn’t have laughter, we’d be in quite a predicament.

Vitamin L
Laughter is healthy on all levels. A hearty laugh can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, elevate mood, boost the immune system, improve brain function and may even decrease the risk of a heart attack. Laughter feels good for a variety of reasons. It involves most of the body’s systems — our muscles, respiration, heart, body temperature, and central nervous system. When we laugh heartily, stress hormones decrease. Endorphins (our body’s natural pain killers) are released. After a good laugh, our blood pressure falls briefly to below normal levels, which helps to give us a feeling of relaxation and satisfaction.

Laughter is Contagious
Having a sense of humor and inviting a lot of laughter into our lives is not only one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to take care of our bodies, it’s also one of the keys to building happy and healthy relationships in the workplace, at home, and out in the larger social circuit. Laughter naturally draws people together. Laughing together creates memories and builds bonds. It unites us and heals us mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Is everyone at work under the pressure of a tight deadline? There’s no better way to help alleviate stress than to use some humor. Your coworkers will appreciate you for it, and it might even increase the quality of everyone’s work.

One of the ‘number one’ qualities people cite for falling and staying in love is the ability to laugh together. How many times have you heard someone say, “I love him because he makes me laugh.” Those who laugh together are more likely to stay together. Laughing makes everyone feel good. If you can give the gift of laughter to those around you, they’d be crazy not to love you for it.

Let’s Not be Serious
A good sense of humor when it comes to oneself is another great asset. Though we may strive to be perfect, the truth is none of us are. We all have flaws, and from time to time, we make errors or find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. Being able to laugh things off is a way of being gentle with and accepting of ourselves. Take, for example, a close friend who is pregnant for the first time. She’s used to feeling slim and glamorous, so the changes in her body have been traumatic. In her final two weeks of pregnancy, she humorously refers to herself as a baby whale, a comparison which immediately lets us know that even in her uncomfortable state, she can at least make fun of her own predicament, while making light of her own vanity. It not only helps alleviate the stress on her body, but it helps her communicate and share the very human experience of feeling fat with others.

Laughing Matters
Want to create more opportunities for laughter in your life? There’s no harm in seeking out humor. You can balance serious art-film watching with a few raucous comedies. Will Farrell, anyone? There are also quite of few comic authors out there. Check out books by Beth Lisick, David Sedaris, and Jill Solloway. You might even consider going to a comedy club or theater. Seek out the funny people in your life, and when in social situations, try asking, “So have you seen any funny movies lately?” or “What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?”

One of the easiest ways to bring more humor into your life is to smile more. Smiling can open the flood gates of laughter. Dress with more attention to playfulness. How long has it been since you played with a toy? Try keeping a few around. Better yet, spend some time with children. When it comes to laughter and taking things lightly, they are the experts. Finally, if you want to put a smile on your face, begin by counting your blessings. Try making a list of all the good things in your life. And lastly, when you hear the music of laughter, head straight for it.

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