When was the last time you laughed so hard that your stomach hurt? When was the last time you laughed so hard that you cried?
Numerous studies show how laughter reduces pain, increases blood flow to our hearts and brains, improves mood and decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, reduces blood glucose levels, creates a sense of connection between people among many other benefits.
I was recently reminded how important laughter is for our health and well-being. And now, in the spirit of my health, I’ve been laughing for days.
This season, invite some silliness back into your life. Even forcing yourself to laugh can start the process of true laughter. Ofttimes, the sound of laughter can encourage others to join in. What kind of laughter do you have? A guffaw? A machine-gun? A snort? A snicker? The Santa (Ho, ho, ho)?
Who do you know or what do you do that makes you laugh the most? Encourage that more. There are loads of websites for all kinds of jokes. Go see a comedy show. Read the comics. Read the dumb-criminal section of the newspaper. Play a game with your favorite people that encourages silliness. There are even groups created just to laugh more Laughing Qi Gong and Laughter Yoga among a few.
Wake up in the morning and grab your belly, and LAUGH! Out Loud! Get your partner and kids and 4-legged companions involved (anyone who has owned a dog who sticks its head out of a moving car knows that dogs grin!). Force it out at the beginning and soon it will come of its own accord.
This season when among friends and family have a friendly competition. Who has the best joke? Who can make the group laugh the longest? The “belly-est?” The hardest? Pull out all the stops and just Laugh!!! Your health will thank you!