Humor Yourself to Lead a Happier, Healthier Life

Humor Yourself to Lead a Happier, Healthier Life

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” – Michael Pritchard

Attribution to Kimberly RecorA couple of days ago, I was spending some time with friends, and one of them made a joke that made us all laugh so hard that we could barely breathe. It was an infectious sort of laughter, and every time we’d calm down, one of us would start giggling again and within seconds we’d all be in stitches. After about 15 minutes of this, the laughter finally died down, but the mood in the room was joyous and elevated. Personally, I felt as though my mind had been wiped clean, leaving me calm and relaxed.

There’s a reason they call laughter the best medicine.  As you enter the second half of your life, laughter can be paramount to enhancing your relationships and keeping you healthy, both physically and emotionally.

Here are some ways laughter can invigorate your life:

Laughter Helps You Connect Socially
Laughter is a great way to bond with new friends and to strengthen old friendships. When you laugh with friends it unites you and keeps relationships fresh and healthy. Resentments and disagreements are effectively healed through humor and lightness. Incorporate more play and humor into your daily interactions with your loved ones, and watch how your relationships change for the better.

Laughter Increases Your Life Span (and the Quality of Life You’re Living)
A Norwegian study has shown that adults with a sense of humor outlive their more somber contemporaries. By having an optimistic outlook on life, and being able to laugh at difficult situations when they arise, you not only create happiness for yourself, but for the people around you as well. People are drawn to laughter, to light. By situating yourself as a beacon of positivity, you can strengthen your relationships with other people, which, in turn, can help you lead a longer, happier life.

Laughing Strengthens Your Immune System
A recent study found that cancer patients, who were subjugated to “Laughter Therapy”, had higher immunity levels than those who were not. When you laugh, your body’s stress hormones decrease, and, as we all know, stress can eat away at your immune system. Laughter also increases the level of antibodies in your system, helping you ward off and destroy infected cells.

Laughter Makes Your Heart Smile
By increasing blood flow and increasing the function of your blood vessels, laughing can strengthen your heart, protecting you against cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks.

Laughter Decreases Inflammation and Pain
By dropping the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, laughing can decrease inflammation in your body, which can affect everything from diabetes to arthritis. Additionally, laughing releases feel-good endorphins, which can help reduce your perception of physical pain. When you laugh, your brain releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure center. It also stimulates the frontal lobe, which enhances your ability to think clearly.

So now that you know the many ways in which laughter benefits you, there’s easy, small changes you can make in order to incorporate humor into your every day life. Seek out laughter when you hear it, more often than not people want to share something they find funny with others. Make it a point to spend time with playful people who laugh easily, people who can find humor in themselves and life’s absurd moments. Smile, even when you’re feeling down, smile at strangers, smile no matter what- you’ll find that it is just as contagious and fulfilling as laughing. Seek out funny articles, cartoons, and shows.

Often, life is beyond our control, things happen at will, often without explanation or reason. The only thing we have control over is our own reactions and behaviors. If you can find the humor in stressful situations, and laugh at yourself rather than take yourself too seriously, you may just find yourself living a happier, healthier, and more empowered life.

Author: Kimberly Recor, staff writer at Designing Brighter Tomorrows

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