10 Ways to Add More Laughter to Your Life at Any Age
“Laughter is the best medicine” isn’t just a saying. It’s science. To start, laughing releases endorphins (e.g., feel-good chemicals) that give us a natural mood boost, which makes it a great way to copy with life’s ups and downs. Get inspired by Dorthy, a real Humana member, who used laughter to overcome challenges.
Laughing also increases brain connectivity and social connection. A recent Japanese study found that those who laughed one or more times a week had fewer instances of cardiovascular disease. Laughter can also help reduce stress, burn calories and improve self-esteem. Here are 10 ways you can add more laughter to your life starting today.
Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
Whether you want to reminisce on your own or with family or friends, thinking back on those zany moments from the past can rustle up a giggle or two. Be sure to share those stories with others. A simple phone call can do a world of wonders to raise your spirits.
Share the Funny
Technology makes it easier than ever to connect with friends and family. You could start an email or text message chain to share humorous finds like comic strips, videos, graphics and photos. This will help you keep an eye out for funny things in your everyday life.
Sit Down for Stand Up
On-demand video and streaming services like YouTube and Netflix make watching stand-up comedy easy. Neuroscientist Scott Weems says in his book, Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why, humor can help us deal with complex and contradictory messaging and work through difficult feelings. It also helps us work through difficult feelings. Stand-up comics are cathartic masters of helping us work through ambiguity and uncertainty.
Search for the Silly
You don’t have to search far to cultivate a sense of humor. In fact, our own lives likely provide fodder for a few comedy specials. Instead of getting angry when something unexpected happens (like knocking your sandwich on the floor) try flipping your perspective and laughing at the situation. That’s exactly what Dorthy did to keep her spirits up when times were tough.
Be a Jokester
Humans are natural storytellers, and our ability to laugh is innate. Try learning jokes or even writing your own. Not only will you work on your cognitive function with memorization and critical thinking, but you’ll also be able to keep dinner guests entertained and shoot the breeze with the best of them. Not sure where to start? Get pointers from “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Cultivate Your Inner Child
Have you noticed how kids seem to have fun just about anywhere? The idea of play may seem like kids’ stuff; it’s anything but. Iconic furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames integrated play into their design process to explore, experiment, be spontaneous and innovate. Being open, receptive and playful makes laughing a whole lot easier and more fun too.
Surround Yourself with Humor
Our surroundings help us connect to the outside world. Surrounding yourself with funny objects, artwork, mementos and photographs can serve as daily reminders of joy and laughter. The objects will stay the same, but your perspective on them may change and grow even funnier over time.
Learn Improv Online
Improv teaches useful skills for everyday life, including how to loosen up, not worry about mistakes, shift your perspective, find new directions and laugh at yourself. Improv can help you navigate new or difficult situations by helping you see alternative solutions and to find silver linings.
Get Some Laughter Therapy
Laughter therapy might sound like a joke, but it’s real. It uses humor to help relieve pain and stress and improve overall well-being. It’s been used to help treat anxiety and depression. The therapy combines real and fake laughter through a variety of tactics like watching funny videos, breathing exercises and laughing in different ways.
Yuk It Up at Yoga
Laughter yoga is an exercise program that combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing techniques. Participants laugh in various ways for several consecutive minutes broken up by breathing breaks. In addition to strengthening your abs and lungs, laughter yoga might just help you feel happier too.
Looking for more ways to feel happier? Get inspired by feel-good stories.