Happy Habits: Laugh Yourself Healthy
Remember as a kid when you used to laugh all the time, at anything? As adults, this slowly diminishes and we seem to laugh less and less. I don’t know exactly when we cross that line of having to take things seriously but I get the feeling this happens once we feel we have to take responsibility and be ‘grown up.’ And yet on those rare occasions that we do end up in a belly aching laughing fit, the benefits are felt instantly.
Our muscles relax, our levels of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, decrease and the endorphins in our bodies soar. Ten minutes of laughing even burns ten calories, whilst also being shown to improve our blood circulation (I). Laughter also releases neuropeptides that boost our overall immune systems and fights illnesses, due to the increased number of positive thoughts it causes us to have. Not to mention, laughing raises our moods and makes us just feel good about life, thanks to the positive frame of mind it helps us to achieve.
Having fun, and laughing through life, can further impact other areas. It helps us to change our attitudes, so that we can start to say “if I’m happy, then” as opposed always thinking “I’ll be happy when.” Rather than waiting until we’re happy before we do something, we realise that feeling happier first, makes us more determined, encouraged and energised to achieve our goals. Happiness gives us more energy and motivation, and we feel more inspired to create and live our best lives yet.
Incase you need it, here are 8 little reminders on how to bring more laughter to your life:
1. Intend to laugh
Setting a goal to laugh more is just as important as any other goal you set yourself, including exercising regularly or eating well. So intend that you’ll laugh as often as you can and make it your mission to carve out time to do so, either as part of your morning or evening routine, by deliberately seeking moments where you can laugh.
2. Smile more!
Even though not technically laughing, the effects of smiling more are just as beneficial to your health. Smiling puts you in that positive state where happy changes take place, inside and out. Plus you’re more likely to see the funny side of things when you already adopt a smiling habit.
3. Hold onto funny friends
Never underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with someone funny. Certain people just have a way with words and their natural funniness makes them simply the best to be around. Although we are currently having to self-isolate, we can still call/Skype/FaceTime these friends, so enjoy the power they have to make us laugh, and aim to return the favour.
4. Pick a favourite comedian
I must admit, I’m not a massive TV person and wouldn’t recommend a box set over a good book, but in this time of social distancing, let’s face it, we have the time. Pick a box set or stand-up comedy, and enjoy the health benefits, and the power of laughing away. I’m currently really into Ricky Gervais and have never been more grateful that his stand-ups and sitcoms are available on Netflix.
5. Read a funny book
I never understood the power of a genuinely funny book until I read ‘The Wrong Knickers’ By Bryony Gordon. I literally laughed so hard that I was crying, whilst on the train. Now, I’m all for seeking out laugh-out-loud book recommendations and these should help – funniest books ever written.
6. Laugh at yourself
Most of us can take ourselves too seriously, which can make it extremely difficult to handle adversity. But learning to laugh at ourselves can take the pressure off, make us more lighthearted and allow us to possess desirable characteristics such as vulnerability and authenticity. When faced with a difficult situation, ask yourself “what’s something funny in this situation?” This can be extremely challenging, as often a situation can seem so bad that humour can seem alien to us, but taking this view allows you to turn a negative into a positive.
7. Do more of what makes you laugh
Think back to what you were doing the last time you were properly belly laughing… Now do more of that.
8. Follow funny pages
Social media can be amazing, if used correctly. There is so much content on there at the moment, lightening the mood when it comes to coronavirus. I don’t advocate mindless scrolling, or following pages that can lead to negative impacts on your self-esteem and destructive comparison habits, but following some meme pages or comedians can have powerful benefits. I recently came across this video by @singingdentist – it definitely put a smile on my face, so it should do yours too.
Whatever you have to do, just don’t take life too seriously! We’re more open minded when we have a positive attitude; we can see more opportunities and feel more productive. We’re happier, healthier and much more resilient if we laugh our way through life. Laughter also gives us more energy to be creative, feel more motivated and live a more fulfilled life.
Let me know below what you do to keep laughing and smiling🙂