Research demonstrates that laughing and using humour can help you manage pain, decrease stress, improve the immune system and advance the healing process. Laughing is, in fact, the most fun way to de-stress and to combat physical and mental illness. But with adults in the UK laughing only an average of 15 times a day, and three times less these days than they did during the 1950s (Joyworks, Scotland), learning to develop the craft of laughing and incorporating humour into your life could very well save your life.
• Learn to laugh at yourself.
Learn not to take yourself too seriously. Be aware that sometimes, we blow things out of proportion. We can become too absorbed in our difficulties that we fail to see them objectively and put them in proper perspective.
• Be aware of what you interpret as funny.
Learn about your preferences and quirks when it comes to being funny and finding things funny. The next time you laugh, try to reflect on what it was exactly that you found funny. Go through old greeting cards, text messages, forwarded emails, bumper stickers, cartoon strips, etc. to develop your awareness of what tickles your funny bone. You can utilise this new found awareness to induce the occurrence of laughter in your life.
• Practise laughing daily.
You may face a mirror and practise smiling at first. Then, lean into a giggle before finally letting loose a belly laugh. You don’t have to find something really funny to do this. The mere mechanical action of laughing serves the same purpose of boosting your oxygen supply, increasing the number of cells that fight diseases, and activating vital organs to secrete feel good hormones that promote physical and mental health.
• Create a humour portfolio.
Gather copies of jokes, photos, videos, sayings, comic strips, and other stuff that make you giggle and laugh, as you encounter them. Collect them in a portfolio and go over them whenever you feel particularly low. This portfolio can also serve as a first-aid kit and can be loaned to others whose spirits need a lift.
• Collect funny movies.
Watch funny movies by yourself or with someone else. Appreciate even the slightly funny portions and laugh out loud. Also make a habit of watching funny TV shows, sitcoms, and reality shows which hold an abundance of laughable material. All you have to do is consciously look for it.
• Learn to play laughter-inducing games.
Create a group that would regularly meet for fun games such as Pictionary, charades, and other board games and parlour games that lend themselves well to humourous and silly situations. It has been proven that even mere anticipation of a funny event is enough to increase endorphin levels and decrease stress hormones.
• Re-appraise your past by picking out laughable moments.
Even though your past may contain some hurtful and sad moments, you may now view them from a different perspective. Try to find something light, funny or even ridiculous about particular incidents and laugh about them. This won’t be too difficult to do since you’ve already done your crying and venting about them.
• Surround yourself with friends who have a great sense of humour.
Sometimes, you need to jumpstart your laughter and being around others who love to laugh may just be what you need. There is truth to the saying that laughter is quite contagious and often, the sound of someone laughing his sides out can activate the giggles in you as well. Even if you don’t actually find the situation funny, the mere act of mechanically laughing brings about the same benefits as genuinely laughing about something.
• Make your work environment more fun.
Create a fun atmosphere at the workplace by bringing stuff that make you smile and laugh. Bring in some of your favorite childhood toys and keep them within reach. Post silly pictures of other people and of yourself from as a kid or as a grown-up. Make your work more enjoyable by sharing silly banter and jokes with colleagues and clients.
• Adopt a willingness to laugh and be playful.
Acknowledge the healing power of laughter and adopt a willingness to deliberately cultivate laughter and incorporate it into your daily life. Change your attitude in life and make a good impression by always wearing a smile. Change the way you handle stressors and bad news by adopting a humour approach. When you make a habit of laughing in the midst of difficulties, you shift toward a mindset that invites positive outcomes.
The potency of spicing up good times with laughter enables persons to develop a culture of laughter that will help get them through the bad times and build up their body’s natural healing resources. It is no wonder then that there are now so many laughter clubs, laughter yoga classes, and humour conventions, all aiming for the promotion of laughter which, due to its numerous health benefits, has now become quite a serious matter.
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