Today I wanted to write about something that I feel like often goes overlooked if you are feeling down in the dumps. Of course, if you are feeling the blues, you should take care of yourself by exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and so forth. In addition to that, however, laughter should be something in our lives that is a priority. There’s nothing like the power of laughter and humor to lighten our moods and fill our hearts with joy. Even if you find some small things in your day to smile about, you can reframe a negative state of mind to a more positive one.
I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine.” There are several biological reasons why laughter is so good for us. For one, it releases endorphins, which naturally boost your mood and may even alleviate pain. If you are feeling angry or stressed, being distracted by laughter or viewing things from a comical perspective may enable your body to relax and move on with your day. Laughter actually decreases the stress hormones in your body, while also increasing immune cells and antibodies to fight infections. I’m sitting here in my makeshift bed on my sofa, surrounded by tissues and medicine bottles, wishing that I could have made myself stress just a little bit less for the past month. Although stress can’t be blamed for every illness when it’s flu season, it definitely did nothing to help me out!
Here are some suggestions for ways to make sure that you are laughing and feeling good every day.
Play With Kids or Pets
Kids have a special way of viewing the world and can immerse themselves so deeply in their imaginations. As a kindergarten teacher, I know that play is so important to children. Why should it be any different for adults? One of the class rewards that I love to give my class is when I play a game with them (inside or outside). Watching them have fun and also feeling playful myself always makes me laugh and feel refreshed. Even if I am sitting at my desk with paperwork to do or emails to send, I sometimes take a quick break to join in with them playing in the pretend play kitchen. They fix me bowls of fake eggs, apples, hot dog buns, and whatever else they can throw together, and I pretend to love it all and devour everything. I never regret my decision to stop and play for a moment.
Pets can also be a source of laughter. Animals love to play just as much as or maybe even more than humans, and they also do some funny things. My dog Gatsby is infuriating but also incredibly lovable. When we go for walks, he acts like he has never seen the world before, and is extremely socially awkward around other animals. He screams when he sees other dogs. Screams. Inevitably when people pass us, they laugh at him and smile at me, so the good feeling is usually contagious.
2. Be Able to Laugh at Yourself
In general, don’t take yourself too seriously. Funny things happen around us or to us all the time. Your mind frames every event positively, negatively, or neutrally. Choose to see circumstances in a positive light and don’t be too worried about what other people may think of you. Instead of dwelling on an embarrassing moment, you can learn to laugh at it and accept yourself as being a flawed human. We all make mistakes, so why stress yourself out about it? Other people will actually be drawn to your authenticity.
Recently, I stepped into the wet concrete outside my house. I ruined my best pair of boots, embarrassed myself in front of several construction workers, and stressed about how I was going to cross the river of concrete to actually get in my door. Once I had a second to calm down, clean myself off, and let the humiliation ebb away, I started thinking about how moronic and hilarious it all was. We all do stupid stuff. The point is to not beat yourself up over it!
3. Plan a Game Night with Friends
One of the funniest nights that I’ve had recently is playing the game, “What Do You Meme?” with a group of friends. The object of the game is exactly like Cards Against Humanity, but instead of black cards, you use the memes. Every person lays down a card that best fits the meme or is the most hilarious with it. For about 3 minutes, I had wine stuck in my mouth. It was either going to a.) come spewing out in a burst of laughter, or b.) make me choke to death. It was very bad indeed.
Any kind of game that you can play with friends is sure to promote lots of laughter. A game night could range from board games and party games, sports, Dungeons and Dragons, or to video games. You could even spend a night out on the town and do a trivia night with your friends.
4. Befriend Funny, Positive People
You know how they say misery loves company? Yeah, for your own sanity and well-being, you should probably avoid those miserable people. On the other hand, don’t just befriend someone because they make everybody laugh. It should be somebody that you can genuinely share a laugh with. A deep, belly laugh. A tears-coming-to-your-eyes laugh. An ab-cramping laugh. A snorting laugh.
Reflect on the people who make you feel good about life and yourself. Think about who really gets your sense of humor and makes you laugh. These are the people that you should surround yourself with. Not the people who complain and make everything seem and feel negative. When I’m stressed out, I like to be able to forget about what’s troubling me for a little while, and my friends help me to do that.
I want to end this blog post with a thank you to all of my hilarious family and friends. Whether we are hosting a theme party or New Year’s Eve party, dancing at a wedding, or partying at the beach, my family always gives me something to laugh about. I barely get a sentence out with my friends, and we are already on the same wavelength laughing together. Thanks for reading, and remember to take a few minutes out of your day to laugh!
Until next time,