My best friend is headed back to the hospital next week for her final round of chemo. Luckily she is doing very well, and continues to impress everyone with her positive attitude, as she surrounds herself with laughter in the form of friends, funny books, and funny movies. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how much we all laughed as kids, tears streaming down our faces, our sides aching from laughing so hard. Somehow as adults, we seem to have fewer of those gut-aching bouts of laughter. Why is this, and what can you do to bring some more healing laughter into your life?
Why Laughter is the Best Medicine
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, and create a natural high in the body. Laughter and humor help to strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, and are strong antidotes to stress and pain. And studies show that laughing with others magnifies the effects, over laughing alone (although laughing alone is better than not laughing at all!)
Maybe we laugh more as kids because we have fewer cares and concerns; no responsibilities of jobs, paying the mortgage, worrying about our own kids, or our ailing parents. Maybe it’s because we’ve been taught to “grow up, and act our age.”
How to Bring More Laughter into Your Life
I heard author Carl Hiaasen (Miami Herald columnist), on NPR today, which reminded me that he’s one of my favorite authors, and I need to check out some of his recent books. If you’ve not read his works, they are sure to bring tears of laughter to your eyes. I also love reading adventure-travel books, where you can vicariously travel to all parts of the globe, usually while laughing at the writer’s miss-adventures. The funniest book I’ve ever read (to the point of laughing SO hard I could hardly read it at times), is Road Fever, by Tim Cahill (founding editor of Outside Magazine.) Looking to laugh? Read this book!
In the category of funny movies, I’ve always loved Monty Python’s zany humor, Life of Brian, and John Cleese’s, A Fish Called Wanda make me laugh my head off every time, check them out if you haven’t already — or even if you have!
Games can be a gateway to laughter as well, and we’ve been playing a lot of the hot new game, Cards Against Humanity, lately, causing tears to stream down our faces. It’s not PC, slamming everyone and everything, but if you can laugh at yourself, it’s hilarious!
As I turn 50 next week, I for one, intend to bring more laughter into my life this year and always. Laughing is great for your health, and the health of everyone around you. What are some of your best laughing triggers?