It has now been just over a year since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and with everything that has been happening in the world, we are witness to so much sadness, hatred and despair all around us. These events affect us all in different ways. Some of us pour over the news, absorbing all the statistics and every detail we can get our hands on. Others ignore it all, and breathe a sigh of relief and gratitude that we are safe, and prefer being removed from it all.
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. It also increases the endorphins released by your brain. Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings. Have you ever had a laughing high? Those are your endorphins at work! Studies also show that you can benefit from laughter even if you don’t find something that funny. While our minds know the difference, our bodies cannot differentiate between genuine laughter and fake laughter. So, just fake it! Fake laughs will yield the same health benefits, and you will inevitably feel better!
Is there any better sound than the sound of children laughing? As children, we laughed hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter is more elusive. Especially now, during times like this. By seeking out more opportunities for humor and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships and find greater happiness.
But what do we do when we just don’t feel like laughing? When there’s no laughing club going on to pull us out of our funk? When we can’t seem to get out of our thoughts. We pulled together a list of things to try.
Smiling is the beginning of laughter, and like laughter, it’s contagious. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Instead of looking down at your phone, look up and smile at people you pass in the street, even if they are wearing a mask, their eyes will smile back. Notice the effect on others.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the positive aspects of your life will distance you from negative thoughts that block humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to reach humor and laughter.
When You Hear Laughter, Move Toward It
Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very 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 and ask with an eager smile, “What’s funny?”
Spend Time With Fun, Playful People
These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lighthearted, humorous person, you can still seek out people who like to laugh and make others laugh. Laughter unites people during difficult times. Humor and playful communication strengthen our relationships by triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connection. When we laugh with one another, a positive bond is created. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, and disappointment.