Choose joy for life.
When was the last time you laughed really hard – a hearty sidesplitting belly laugh? Humor can be good for you. Bringing humor into your life can provide both physical and psychological benefits. Do you look for humor in your everyday life? You don’t have to be a comedian to have a sense of humor. Read our tip sheet for adding humor to your life. Watch our recent webinar.
Looking at the Funny Side of Life
Laughter keeps us young at heart. Its benefits are shown in our face, our attitude, and the spring in our step. Some laughter milestones include:
- As, babies we start to laugh around 10 weeks old.
- At 16 weeks, we are laughing about once every hour.
- By 4 years old, we laugh on an average of every 4 minutes.
- As adults, we laugh only about 15 times a day.
Physical benefits include:
- Exercises muscles and reduces tension
- Increases the respiratory system
- Decreases blood pressure and heart rate
- Enhancing alertness, memory, learning and creativity
- Improves the immune system
- Improves digestion
- Relieves pain and tension
- Stimulates cardiovascular system
- Triggers endorphins
- Improves mental functioning
Robust laughter is called internal jogging, leaving your muscles, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing with the effects of a good workout. In fact, a good laugh can also burn as many calories as brisk walking for an hour.
Psychological Benefits include:
- Acts as coping mechanism that can relieve hostility and anger and can distance us from the burden of illness and disability
- Relieves anxiety, distress, anger and depression
- Changes our perspective
- Provides an acceptable way of enjoying usually forbidden topics
- Creates feelings of well-being, sense of empowerment and control
- Assists in creating and maintaining a positive attitude, hope, energy and self-esteem
- Creates change in behavior – reduces whining and complaining
Laugh At Yourself
Ask yourself “Just how serious is this” when you find yourself taking things too seriously. Keep a pair of funny glasses, a purple hat, a rubber chicken or any prop that helps you lighten up and gain a sense of perspective. Step back and view the situation from others point of view. How would they react to see the clash with the boss or the broken dishwasher that spilled all over?
Allow yourself to relax and laugh at your own mistakes and accept yourself as you are. Which things can you take gentle teasing about? These need to be things about which you can also see the humor. If there are sensitive topics that you don’t feel OK about, gently let your friends know the subject is off limits. Remember the reverse of this when you tease others.
The test for laughing at yourself is if you can take teasing by others. We need things we are willing to be teased about – our clumsiness, forgetfulness, or mispronunciation of words. Recognize that until you can laugh at your own mistakes and shortcomings, your self-esteem will not allow you to have much of a sense of humor.
Use Humor Instead Of Worry And Anger
Humor can help temper our strong emotions. The next time you are angry, try to use humor to express your feelings instead of anger. If you feel afraid or stressed, try saying something light. It can help reduce the tension for everyone involved.
Look For Humor In Everyday Life
Humor is a healthy way of creating a distance between one’s self and a problem, a way of standing off and looking at one’s problem objectively. Whether it’s a changing life event or a little hassle, humor helps us detach ourselves and get a fresh look. We can then find a solution – to either change the situation or to accept it.
Spend Time With People Who Make You Laugh
Try to spend time with the people who make you feel good about yourself and are pleasant to be with – who amuse, inspire, relax and loosen you up. Choose friends who lighten the atmosphere and boost your mood. Avoid spending time with chronic complainers and whiners who make you feel depressed. Try to avoid becoming a part of negative conversations and seek out others who have a positive attitude.
Research has shown that just changing your facial muscles can trigger different thoughts and affect moods. So when we put on a happy face during adversity or say, “have a nice day” when we don’t feel like it, blood flow to the brain increases. We are actually changing our hormone levels, which change our moods. So if you can’t laugh, smile. If you can’t smile, try faking it.