LAUGHTER AND WHY WE NEED IT:
Our world is a busy place. Often we can get caught up in the business of everyday life, and things can start to get a little too serious. The media is forever reporting all the disastrous events of the day, which can promote feelings of fear and discouragement within us. In daily life, it seems there are so many things to get done. There’s planning, organising, starting, finishing, etc, etc that we forget that life doesn’t have to be so difficult!There is much to be learned from watching animals and small children. They are always operating in the present moment, and being playful comes naturally to them. They look at the world in a light-hearted way and embrace all that is presented to them. The sound of a baby laughing never fails to bring a smile to everyone’s face. We were all like this once, can you still remember how to laugh and play?Research tells us that laughter releases feel good chemicals called endorphins into our bloodstream which improve our mood and promote positive feelings. Laughter also decreases the release of cortisol, our main stress hormone, which promotes better immune function. Other chemicals improve our cardio-vascular health by lowering our blood pressure and also act as natural pain killers. Did you know that belly laughing actually uses calories too? So if we take a lighter view of life, we not only feel happier, we will live a lot longer too!
Here are a few suggestions to get more laughter in your day:
- Learn to find the funniness in difficult circumstances. Instead of grumbling and getting angry, is there an opportunity to bring some lightness to the situation? If we are able to step back and witness, perhaps things may feel a little more amusing or tolerable. Have you ever had something difficult happen to you, that you later related to others as a funny situation? Instead of being serious about it at the outset, perhaps we can find the humour in the moment and save ourselves the angst!
- Hang out with small children. If you forget about what others will think and throw yourself into playing with your kids (or someone else’s), they will be delighted at your sudden silliness! Jump on that trampoline, log roll down the hill, go roller skating. Get on that merry-go-round with them and feel the joy that comes with it. My favourite activity is getting into the blow up jumping castle and going crazy with the kids. It’s so much fun and will have you laughing hard!
- Watch comedy shows or movies. Laughter is contagious, and seems to mainly occur in social situations. So grab a few friends and have some laughter together at the movies. This helps to build good relationships, as we are always drawn to those who are able to laugh and see the sunny side of things.
Did you know that there are local laughter clubs? Members come together and have a laughter session under a trainer’s guidance. So if you feel that you need some laughter in your life, make a point to find the funny wherever you can in your day. You will be glad you did!