We all love to laugh (er, don’t we?). But ever since Norman Cousins extolled the therapeutic benefits of Marx Brothers-induced giggles, laughter has been lauded for its healthful effects as well as its pleasurable sensations.
According to the latest Fitness First magazine, laughter:
- transforms negative stress into wellbeing
- strengthens the immune system
- is anti-ageing
- reduces depression and anxiety
- develops confidence
- improves our sense of humour
- encourages creativity, imagination and problem-solving
- is an aerobic exercise, equivalent to cardiovascular exercise
- increases the body’s natural painkillers
- reduces stress-related hormones
(Fitness First, January/February 2008, page 42. Research sources not provided) .
Happiness life strategy
So it feels good to laugh and there are many great reasons to do it. The trick is to get those laughs happening more often.
Here are some ideas for raising your daily laughter load:
- Swap the tear jerker for some movie tomfoolery.
Try Ground Hog Day, American Pie, Clueless – or ask like-minded friends for recommendations.
- Watch funny TV shows.
Modern classics include Friends and Seinfeld. My personal faves are Arrested Development, The Office (US version), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Get the DVDs and have them on hand for a regular dose of diversion.
- Lower your laughter threshold.
Some people are determined not to laugh unless the joke is extremely worthy and all the stars are aligned. Be an easy laugher – have your funny bone exposed and ready for tickling.
- Avoid gloomy or overly serious people.
It’s their choice to refuse to partake in silliness, but they’ll take the fun out of it for you. Instead…
- Spend time with laughers.
Ever noticed how watching actors laugh on blooper reels makes you laugh too? Laughter is infectious – so hang out with easily amused friends and soon chortling will become second nature for you, too.
- Smile more.
It looks good, it feels good, it makes others feel good – and it’ll help train those cheek muscles for all that laughter you’ll be doing.