‘Always find a reason to laugh. It may not add years to your life but will surely add life to your years!’ – unknown
Having a laugh has so many benefits and not just that it makes you happy! It can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve your breathing, boost your immune system and it’s a natural painkiller due to the endorphins you release whilst laughing. On top of all that it can reduce stress, help you sleep and improve relationships. Laughing can even help you lose weight as it burns calories! It’s kind of like an internal jog. It might take a lot of laughter to achieve a flat stomach but think about all the fun you’ll have along the way!!
‘As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul’ – Jewish Proverb
Laughing keeps you young. In the words of Maurice Chevalier ‘You don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing’. This is because laughter improves blood circulation to all the major body organs including the brain, improving both physical and emotional health. Increased blood circulation plumps up our cheeks and the laughter makes our eyes sparkle so we even look younger, and more attractive, when we laugh!
‘A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything’ – Irish proverb
If we are feeling stressed, anxious, upset or angry, having a laugh can really help. It takes our minds off our worries and gives us a chance to relax and recharge. Laughing can also provide a new perspective. Nothing seems as bad when you are laughing and you might even be able to see new possibilities or solutions you hadn’t thought of before. It is physically impossible to laugh and be depressed at the same time so it really is the fastest way to lift your mood.
What, or who, makes you laugh? Whilst some people will laugh at almost anything, others find very little to laugh at. But did you know that a sense of humour can actually be learned or developed? Just like smiling that we talked about in a previous post, we can also learn to laugh more. We can try fake laughing which gives us all the health benefits because our bodies don’t know the difference. We can spend time with young children or pets and laugh with them. We can seek out funny films, comedians, YouTube videos or books. We can try to laugh at ourselves and not take life so seriously. We could even join a laughter yoga class (yes, that is a real thing!). It doesn’t matter what method you use – the important thing is to introduce more laughter into your life.
‘A wonderful thing about true laughter is that it just destroys any kind of system of dividing people’ – John Cleese
Laughter can diffuse a tricky situation by interrupting the power struggle and making us less defensive. It allows us to see things in a more realistic and less threatening way and stops us from feeling overwhelmed. It can unite people who may not speak the same language. It’s contagious – try not laughing when someone else is! It’s a great way to form a bond with people you have only just met or to strengthen existing relationships.
‘A day without laughter is a day wasted’ – Charlie Chaplin
Researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that babies appreciate humour from as young as 4 weeks old. Think about the typical peek-a-boo game which gets baby smiling and chuckling. Another study, which looked at 700 babies, showed that by 11 months old, half of the children were able to produce humour themselves. Apparently a baby laughs almost 200 times a day but most adults only laugh an average of 12 times a day. Try to make sure you don’t waste a single day!
So the tiny tweak this week? I’m sure you’ve guessed it already! Watch a funny programme, catch up with the friend who always makes you laugh, ask someone to tell you a joke and then tell someone else so you share the humour. Laugh at every opportunity! Let’s make the world a happier place one tiny tweak at a time! Finally, always remember ‘life is better when you’re laughing’.
Until next time xx
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