“Laughter feels like our flotation device – it won’t pull us out of the storm, but it might carry us through…” (Emery Lord, Open Road Summer)

Laugh ’til Your  Body’s Content!

Personally, I love a good giggle and find it’s been laughter that has kept me sane during these insane times we are living in at the moment.

I was flabbergasted to learn recently of a regularly touted-about online statistic (source unknown), that adults laugh an average of just 15 times a day compared to children who laugh an average of 300 times per day.

Now I haven’t ‘fact-checked’ that stat, but it did take me back to a conversation I had with my youngest daughter when she was eight who, at the time, reminded me of a hyena with her constant cheeky chortles:

Never stop laughing, even as you get older’ I told her, looking at me with her furrowed thinking-brow as she informed me of her observations, ‘You know, Mummy, I have noticed a lot of adults don’t really laugh very much at all. How sad indeed that our joie de vivre seems to wane as our years slowly gain.

Why Should we Laugh More?

The internal joy that laughter brings is positively medicinal. I know I cannot get enough of a good guffaw and you’ll generally find me trying to locate some smidgen of comedy even in the most mundane aspects of everyday life. When we delve into the health benefits of laughter it’s not hard to fathom just why laughter is so therapeutic to the soul.

Laughter health benefits include:

  • Increases endorphins and dopamine (our hormones that induce a sense of pleasure)
  • Boosts T-Cells (a powerful weapon within our immune system)
  • Decreases the stress hormone cortisol.

Elevated cortisol levels result in:

* increased bodily inflammation

*fatigue and

*headaches

Interestingly Steptohealth.com also cite ‘lack of sense of humour

as a consequence of elevated cortisol levels – oooer!

Ways to Increase Our Laughter Quota Let’s face it, life can often feel like a bed of thorns rather than a bed of roses (especially in the current climate), so it’s not surprising that sometimes we will find it hard to muster a smile let alone a full-on tear-rolling fit of laughter. If you do, however, want to up your laughter quota (and in turn gain those joyful added health benefits), being intentional in doing so is key. Here are a few quick tips to help you factor in an extra dose of laughter to your day.

Entertainment With doom, gloom and covid stats galore on social media and MSM at the moment, a lot of what’s coming into our psyche may lack any form of light-hearted relief. So why not factor in a comedy film afternoon/night or two or even three? Or if you want a quick guaranteed impromptu chuckle, what about searching for your fave blooper clip (my fave at present is searching for ‘woman’s wig comes off on Saturday Night Takeaway’).

Converse Get chatting with other people. Studies show that we laugh most when with others. At the moment, conversations can be quite heavy-going, and it’s really important to maintain a balance between knowing what’s happening around us and just having a frivolous natter or brash banter. There’s always that one person who is the funny bone of the ‘peer group’ – getting them to chat – and if it’s you, even better; what are you waiting for?! A good chuckle-filled chinwag whether on the phone, Facetime or better yet, face to face, is definitely worth factoring in for that quick health boost for all involved.

Observe Isn’t it funny how laughter is contagious? You may not know why somebody is laughing, but most of the time it will bring a smile or even giggle to you as the bemused onlooker. Now, I am not talking about a sadistic type of laugh which would cause a sense of alarm for most observers. I am talking about those hearty belly laughs. So next time you are privy to a small child giggling at ‘nothing’, or that friend who always laughs hysterically at their own un-funny jokes, take a moment to appreciate the laughter and allow yourself to catch that titter bug too.

Reminisce Locate those ‘You’ve Been Framed’-esque’ vids of friends and family on your phone for a quick bout of laughter. Or why not try journaling comedic memories – it may surprise you just how many there have been. Granted, this past year hasn’t been the greatest of all times, but can you look back and find some humour in a situation that was far from funny at the time? Was there a shopping trip that left you raging as only the cheap scratchy toilet roll was left on the shelves? Being able to laugh at oneself helps to soften the perspective and bring joy to a memory that, at the time, may have triggered an ‘unsavoury’ response.

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