A priest, a guru and a rabbit walk into a bar. That rabbit turns to the others and says, “I think I’m a typo!”
The saying goes that laughter is good for the soul. I don’t know what you think about that but the research is showing that this is truer than we might have thought. It’s not just a good pick-me-up line to excuse a good bit of a laugh.
Why we laugh
Benefits of laughing
There have been studies done that show laughing strengthens our immune system so can reduce us getting sick. And it can improve the function of our blood flow. This is never a bad thing and does wonders for our hearts.
When we laugh it releases endorphins (the feel-good hormone) into our brains. Endorphins can give a boost to our overall sense of worth and wellbeing. Other studies show that it can even temporarily relieve pain.
As we laugh we relax too! It doesn’t mean we let our guard down in that kind of relaxed way but the tension leaves our muscles. And we can stay relaxed like this for about 45 minutes.
It has also been shown that the effects of laughter work fast in bringing our mind back into balance whilst releasing anger and allowing us to forgive quicker. When we laugh we can gain a new or different perspective on the situation to move on from confrontation that could otherwise escalate.
It may seem obvious but it boosts our mood. We cannot stay grumpy if we’re laughing out loud. When our mood has been boosted we are better able to function and be more productive in the things that we put our minds to.
And as I mentioned in the previous blog it lowers our stress levels.
How we laugh
There are those that laugh silently. Those that laugh with loud guffaws. Some snort when they laugh. Some howl, some cry, some even sound like they might be crying. There were times when I had to listen really carefully to my kids to work out which was which if I couldn’t see them.
We laugh in different ways and that’s all good. The important thing is that we laugh.
So here are some tips to help us laugh more in our lives.
“Talk less. Smile more.” Well I don’t know about the talking less – that might have just been the better advice for Hamilton, but we can all smile more.
I know it’s been difficult to see with everyone wearing masks recently. Now that this has basically finished we can see each other’s smiles. Go ahead and smile at others. It doesn’t cost us anything to do it and it positions ourselves mentally to be more inclined to laugh. And it gives the receiver of our smile something positive too! It’s a win win.
Be with fun people
Some people drain our energy. Some people energise us and we know we’ll have a great time with them. Get out with these people! Hang out with those who will give you some laughs and a good time.
Schedule a laughing time
I know this one sounds a bit ridiculous (and maybe it even sets you off laughing at the thought of it). But like anything we do we need to put the effort in and when we put the effort in we can get the rewards from it. If something is important to us then we make the time for it. If we want to get fit we don’t just expect it to happen. We schedule in going to the gym or doing exercise and that’s the same with laughing too! We can schedule a time to laugh. There’s so much out there online we can find that will make us laugh, whatever our tastes so find something and watch it.
The more we do it the more natural it will become and we will even be able to see them more in our day-to-day so we can find that we are naturally laughing more and more.
Fake it till you make it
Don’t find anything funny?! Well then fake it. Make yourself laugh. It’s not just a knee-jerk reaction. We can simulate laughter and it can have the same benefits as when we do it naturally. And you might even find that even in faking it, this can change your disposition to a more laughable one.
When was the last time you laughed? And I mean really laughed? If you can’t think of a time recently put some of these things into practice and let the advantages be felt.
And if you’re willing to share some jokes with me, like and comment and let’s have a laugh together.
Counsellor and Psychotherapist