“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.” – Catherine Rippenger Fenwick
Have you heard the saying, “Laugher is the best medicine?” I sure have found this to be true. Laughter truly has a healing effect, even in the darkest of times. It is a uniquely human experience that sets us apart from animals (although I swear, I have heard my dog laugh at me…). The dark times of life are a reality- pain, sickness, grief, loneliness, disappointment, and anger, the list goes on. A healthy dose of laughter can help to shrink these challenges to their true size, making them less intimidating and empowering us to overcome them.
Besides lightening the mood, a good laugh actually induces physical changes in your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases endorphins that are released in the brain. A good giggle can also activate and relieve your stress response, stimulate circulation, and aid muscle relaxation.
Additionally, while negative thoughts can result in chemical reactions in the body that cause elevated stress levels, positive thoughts lead to the release of neuropeptides, the brain chemicals known to fight anxiety, stress, and other related mental health conditions. Having a good sense of humor can also help you interact and connect with other people. These positive thoughts and good relationships are additional helpful coping tools.
Maybe you’re a naturally cheerful person and humor comes easy for you. If this isn’t the case, I have good news for you- humor can be learned! Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good. Following are a several steps to help you develop or refine your sense of humor.
Find a few simple items, such as photos, greeting cards or comic strips, that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office or collect them in a file or notebook.
Keep funny movies, TV shows, books, magazines or comedy videos on hand for when you need a boost of humor.
Listen to humorous podcasts.
Go to a comedy club.
Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
Check your local bookstore or library's selection of joke books and add a few jokes to your list that you can share with friends.
Social media platforms can be a good source of laughter. You can join groups or follow people who are all about humor. This way, you too can learn a few things about being funny.
Two words: Funny Memes.
Life can be hard. I get that. Some days are sunshine and roses while others are storm clouds and hail. Laughter and a good sense of humor are never meant to invalidate the struggles we face, but rather to help lighten the load. Personally, when I am down, I find that 15 minutes of funny dog video clips puts a little pep in my step. It may not solve the initial issue, but somehow the positive energy I get is enough to recharge my soul a bit.
I will leave you with a few funnies to get you started. It is my hope that your funny bone gets tickled, and the corners of your mouth turn up just a little. Laughter really is good medicine, and you deserve joy.
“If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?" "Pilgrims."
“I thought the dryer was shrinking my clothes. Turns out it was the refrigerator all along."
“I ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I'll let you know..."
And my all-time favorite: “What is brown and sticky?” “A stick.”