Live It Up With Laughter: Practical Ways to Laugh More Each Day

Live It Up With Laughter: Practical Ways to Laugh More Each Day

Tired of spending a fortune on supplements, remedies, massages, and other complementary ways to enhance your health when you can simply and cheaply live it up for free with laughter? Well, today’s post offers some practical ways to laugh more each day for improved holistic health and happiness. We’ll first uncover some evidence-based findings to support how laughter truly is the best medicine as far as physical, psychological, and socio-emotional health. Ready to get the last laugh with us today? Whether you giggle, snort, chuckle, cackle, or belly laugh, let’s live it up with laughter!

“Why Laughter Is The Best Medicine: Physical, Mental, and Socioemotional Merits”

Remember the classic expression, “Laughter is the best medicine?” Well, this “back to the basics” approach is now coming back full circle as more experts presently endorse and even prescribe laughter therapy, laughter yoga, and many other interventions based on its blast of holistic benefits. As a complementary therapy for treating anxiety, depression, dealing with chronic illness, addictions, and other issues, JongEun (2016) cites how the medicinal qualities of laughter align with the major release of major endorphins, which can automatically increase our heart and respiratory rates, foster muscle relaxation, and ease pain (https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/239/3/239_243/_article). Because of my diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I’ve personally tried a ton of natural treatments like tart cherry juice, adaptogens, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, turmeric, and others for pain reduction, but I’ve sadly overlooked laughter. Look like it’s time to bust out some Comedy Central, eh?  

Besides, other holistic health benefits from laughter, according to Bennett & Lengacher (2008) in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ECAM), further praise it for boosting immunity, lowering inflammation, managing diabetes, and even combatting insomnia (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249748/). Research from Wickberg’s (2015) book, The Senses of Humor: Self and Laughter in Modern America, also highlights the therapeutic benefits of laughter to cope with aging and also credits laughter as a brain health helper in patients struggling with dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke recovery, physical disabilities, mental health diagnoses, and other challenges. Let’s freely LOL today, folks!

Check out our Laugh acrostic for adding some easy tips, resources, suggestions to live it up with laughter today:

·      L is for Link online: Not all online sources are toxic, sensationalized, or depressing, as our blogs seek to demonstrate. For integrating more laughter into your life, consider subscribing to your favorite blogs with a wicked sense of humor, follow local comedians and theater companies for their latest debuts, show times, and schedules, and other joyful tricks. Based on Altman’s (2016) 101 Mindful Ways to Build Resilience: Cultivate Calm, Clarity, Optimism, and Happiness Each Day, add a digital daily to inject more funnies and lighten your inbox (and life), sort of akin to what comic strips in the newspapers aim to achieve. This source also lists many old school and new comics to visit: https://www.gocomics.com/comics/a-to-z.  Eager to activate your funny bone?

·      A is for Alternate AM and PM news with humorous substitutes. Whether you watch your news on TV, listen via radio, or read online, try to swap with all the gloom and doom for a daily dose of a humor from a comedy radio station on Pandora, a hilarious podcast, or a funny audiobook on your way to work, during your morning routines, or ending your night with a mindful ritual.  When morning routines are stressful, we play some silly singalongs with our kiddos in my house like “The Hokey Pokey” or the soundtracks from Sing or Trolls. Notice that I did not include Frozen to “let it go?”

·      U is for Unplug from the pressures of real life with a humorous sitcom, book, or movie. Kids’ and animated movies usually offer a ton of awesome inside jokes for adults, too, if you have little ones, tweens, or teens, or are just a kid at heart yourself! We’re not kidding, so check out this list of 2019’s funniest adult comedies from https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/film-tv/g25609362/funniest-comedy-movies-2019/ or an overall list of the best humorous books from readers at https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/312.Best_Humorous_Books

·      G is for Grab your Groupies! Bond and belly laugh by regularly scheduling a brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee chat, movie date, or happy hour with your friends, relatives, neighbors, or colleagues. Sharma & Cooper (2017) further emphasize laughter’s socioeconomic and behavioral boosts for reducing compassion fatigue and executive burnout in our jobs, educational pursuits, and caregiving duties in the book, Executive Burnout: Eastern and Western Concepts, Models, and Approaches for Mitigation. Since laughter can off-set the immunosuppressive effects of stress, what a better win-win than to team up with your comedic crew? Don’t you always feel lighter, brighter, and more relaxed after a true LOL moment? Mini golf, picnic in the park, board game night, bowling? Strive for experiences that will make you laugh and feel connected to others.

·      H is for Have a joke night once a month for starters (or even once a week, if you’re super ambitious, witty, or related to Tina Fey): Your family doesn’t have to have a Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Melissa McCarthy, Pete Davidson or Wanda Sykes “mini-me” in order to whoop it up with humor. Studies by Wood & Niedenthal (2018) analyzed the social function of laughter in Social & Personality Psychology Compass and insisted how it strengthened the overall bond among families, colleagues, loved ones, couples, and even strangers. Laughter is a lifelong quest, so devote a night to jokes, family humor by recalling funny things that happened at work or school, or engaging in amusing games and activities like charades, Pictionary, limbo, hula hoop, Play-doh, Twister, family dance parties, and other favorites. Do the floss dance and don’t forget to floss for real, so we don’t get grossed out when we see those smiles after living it up with laughter!

References:

Altman, D. (2016). 101 Mindful Ways To Build Resilience : Cultivate Calm, Clarity, Optimism & Happiness Each Day. Eau Claire, WI: PESI Publishing & Media.

Bennett MP, & Lengacher, C. (2008). Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ECAM), 5(1), 37–40. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249748/

JongEun Yim. (2016). Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 239(3), 243. Retrieved from https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/239/3/239_243/_article

Sharma, R. R., & Cooper, C. (2017). Executive Burnout : Eastern and Western Concepts, Models and Approaches for Mitigation (Vol. First edition). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Wickberg, D. (2015). The Senses of Humor : Self and Laughter in Modern America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Wood, A., & Niedenthal, P. (2018). Developing a social functional account of laughter. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 12(4), 1.

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