January 24, 2023

LAUGHTER. Just what the doctor ordered!

That’s what the staff at the Mayo clinic are saying. Having a good sense of humour can’t cure everything, but data is mounting about the positive benefits of laughter. Laughter relieves stress in the body and mind and may improve your immune system by reducing negative thoughts, which can manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations and improve your mood.

Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped or nonexistent sense of humour? No problem. Humour can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humour may be easier than you think.
You don’t have to have rollicking deep belly laughter all the time. A subtle or quiet laugh can still give you relief from the seriousness of life. Look for the humour in your life. If you have funny photos or comic strips, put them up so you will see them. Know which movies and TV shows give you a good laugh and watch as needed.

Most of us will find a wealth of laughter opportunities in our own life. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. When you notice you are self-absorbed in your work, daily concerns and problems, this is a perfect opportunity to laugh at yourself and break out of the bubble of stress and pressure. When something disappointing happens, if you can laugh at your reaction to it, it will help you make the leap from disappointment to acceptance.

Everyone works hard, makes mistakes, fails at an undertaking, trips and falls, and says the wrong things…we are human! So instead of getting upset, try laughing at yourself and move on.

When was the last time you laughed at yourself? Yesterday, last week, last year, or even…never?
We know that laughing is good for us, but it is also good for those around us and sets a good example of how to roll through life with a sense of ease and fun. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good. Have you heard of “Laughter yoga”? It is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter. Laughter yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. You could try it on your own!

Who is responsible for bringing laughter into your life? You! Go ahead and give it a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels forced. Once you’ve had your chuckle, take stock of how you’re feeling. Did your shoulders relax? Did your face muscles relax? Did you feel your chest soften?
If you measured success by how much laughter and joy you have rather than how much financial success you have, how successful would you be?

Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter”.
It takes mindfulness to notice when it is time to “lighten up!”…and you know where to develop mindfulness!