I need to laugh more. We all need to laugh more. I was doing some digging in old computer files when I found a document with 10 pages of references as to why we need to laugh more. So, I had to share.
I was reminded of a time many years ago when I was in a very difficult job situation. The first week was so difficult that I cried everyday. Anxiety definitely had the best of me. I knew my methods of coping were not working, but I didn’t know what to do differently.
Shortly before I had to embark on the second week of this job, I found my answer. I was digging through a box of books. I don’t remember what I was looking for, but what I found was a “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoon book. I started paging through it and began to laugh. This was my answer. When anxiety started to take over, I would retreat to a corner and laugh. It worked.
What I had discovered, all those years ago, is now supported by a mountain of research. Laughter is good for your health. It reduces stress and improves overall health.
“Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.” Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
Benefits from laughter: (Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California)
* Boosts immunity
* Lowers blood pressure
* Lowers stress hormones
* Decreases pain
* Relaxes your muscles
* Prevents heart disease
* Adds joy and zest to life
* Eases anxiety and fear
* Relieves stress
* Improves mood
* Enhances resilience
The research results showed the physiological response produced by belly laughter was opposite of what is seen in classical stress.
Begin with a smile. When trying to improve my mood, one of the simplest things I do is force myself to smile. There are lots of other things we can do to lighten our mood. Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.
Attempt to laugh at situation. Look for the humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you. Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screen saver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun. Keep things in perspective. Pay attention to children and emulate them. Watch a comedy.
Will you join me in committing to laugh more? I want more of these benefits. Do you? Even scripture tells us there is a time to laugh and there is joy in laughter. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:1-3
So what do you say? Leave a comment and share your favorite sources of laughter.