It’s true-laughter is the best medicine! Recent research confirms it- laughter can improve your memory, lower your risk of heart disease, decrease stress, and help you lose weight. A recent study at Loma Linda University in California which tested a group of 20 senior citizens discovered that watching comedies helped assist short-term memory and decreased levels of cortisol, a hormone which occurs under stress. Other studies have shown that humor fights heart disease, reduces blood sugar, and lowers blood pressure. Simply laughing 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn 40 calories and make you feel much better.
So how do you attract more laughter into your life? Try some of these tips to boost your laugh quotient:
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Don’t forget to laugh at yourself occasionally.
Whether at home, in the street, or in the office, grab every opportunity to laugh. As long as it’s not at someone else’s expense, join in when someone else laughs. This is a “mirroring” technique that automatically makes people feel more relaxed around you. It releases tension, builds camaraderie, and makes you feel lighter and looser. It will also help you learn to laugh more easily, more often.
Find funny people.
Laughter is infectious, but only if you find other people who laugh. Try to surround yourself with people who like to laugh and you’ll find it rubbing off on you. Of course there are times to be serious and you may have friends who are often a little down; don’t dump them. Try to find a balance and spend as much time with those who enjoy a good laugh as those more on the serious side.
Break for humor.
When things are getting to you, take laughter ‘time out.’ Go outside and watch a short comedy video on your phone. The old reliable, YouTube.com provides free videos for a few minutes of laughter. Sites like cuteoverload.com will also make you smile or giggle. If you don’t feel like watching a video, invest in a joke book or find a site on the Internet with funny anecdotes or short stories. There is no limit to the free resources available to give you a quick humor infusion in a few minutes or less.
Join the club.
The Official Laughter Yoga website reports that there are now over 6,000,000 “social laughter clubs” that span 60 countries. Consider taking a laughing meditation or laughter yoga class. Many people start these classes feeling self-conscious and silly, but this doesn’t last for long-making laughter a group event can add a sense of community and connection; the endorphin rush doesn’t hurt either. It’s almost impossible not to laugh. Go on; try it.
Consciously plan more ways to find laughter. Make a weekly plan to watch a funny movie with your loved ones. Attend a local comedy club or book tickets to see a stand-up comic you love. Scheduling in time and events will guarantee you more opportunities to laugh. It can be intimate-just you and a friend or spouse—or with a large audience at a movie or comedy festival. Or do something on your own. Find ways that suit your personality and lifestyle. Schedule it –and stick to your plan.
Adopt a mantra.
Find a quote or a mantra that reminds you to laugh-or makes you laugh. Check out Pinterest, internet sites, or calendars with humorous or inspirational quotes. When times are tough, say the mantra out loud, and it should bring a smile to your face or even make you laugh out loud.