Laughing out loud cannot only make you feel better. It can also affect your physical wellbeing, lowering blood pressure, boosting your immune system and even protecting the heart. The power of laughter and humor in our daily lives cannot be underestimated. So, if you want to improve your general health, it might just be time to get out that old joke book or put on that comedy video that tickles your funny bone.
The Physical Effects of Laughing
The Mental Health Impact of Humor
We all know that being more positive and looking on the brighter side of things can help us get through challenging situations. Humor can help to lower stress levels and make the world look a lot less daunting, particularly if you are suffering from mental health problems. Of course, it’s not always that easy but many mental health experts think that humor can help a person with emotional difficulties find a different perspective on things.
Often it is the meaning we put on particular situations that causes emotional and mental health problems. We see the darker side of the world rather than taking a more ‘light hearted’ view. Finding ways to improve your mood and looking at things differently is not easy for those suffering from mental health conditions, but there are simple things you can try.
Most people will point out that switching from a bad experience to humor is not as easy as the experts point out. It may be beneficial, particularly if you suffer from a long term chronic condition such as PTSD or depression, but how do you actually get there? How do you find something funny when your world is falling apart?
There’s no doubt that humor has great social benefits and binds us all together. When things get tough it can help us soldier on, bring us together, allow us to share quality interactions and can even bring us closer together.
Finding Humor in Your Life
Knowing that laughter and humor are good for us is one thing. Finding ways to bring it more into our lives is another. If you have suffered from a trauma and can’t see the humor in the world around you, you’re not alone. But trying to change your mindset and find laughter where you can is something that can help many people in this kind of situation.
Can you learn to laugh? Well, actually we all know how to laugh and it’s something that can be nurtured. Here are a few things you can start trying to ease yourself to a more humor filled life:
First of all, try to smile more. It may seem artificial at first but smiling a lot can actually trick the brain into seeing the brighter side of life. Smiling can not only work on you, it can work on other people. If you smile, people tend to smile back. Try it next time you greet someone. You’ll be surprised how much it changes the world around you.
What’s great about your life? We all have a mixture of bad and good things that are happening to us. Making a list of all the good parts of our life can refocus our attention from the negative to the positive. If you are feeling particularly down it can be good to know that you have friends who are there to help, that you have kids who are doing well or that your love of a particular hobby is a bright spark that can ignite your enthusiasm. Keep the list, add to it, and refer to it when you are feeling down or anxious.
Don’t ignore laughter. When you hear someone laughing, if you are feeling down the natural impulse is often to move away from that sound. Do just the opposite. Seek out people who are having fun and you may find their humor and laughter becoming infectious. Spending time with those who use humor in every opportunity they can might just lift that weight off your shoulders and show you how to see fun rather than sadness.
Equally, spending time with people who take life far too seriously can have an impact on how you feel about things. Have you ever been part of a sport’s team where someone takes it a little too far, barracking those who don’t get something right? How does it make you feel? Does it improve your game or make it worse? Surrounding yourself with positive individuals who know that you and your team mates are doing their best might help get more out of you. If someone is bringing you down spend less time with them and more time with the person who is lifting you up.
Looking on The Brighter Side of Life
No doubt if you have recently suffered a bereavement or been diagnosed been with a medical condition, you will probably not feel like laughing. But there are many instances in life where you can change your focus and look at things in a more humorous way. Often we make more of a situation than it actually deserves or give it too much importance because we want to succeed at something.
There are plenty of tings to lighten up your life:
Use Your Humor Well
We all know that laughter is good for us. One caveat is to make sure that your brand of humor doesn’t actually harm others. Cutting remarks might seem funny from your point of view but what about the object of your attack? Directing humor at someone else’s pain or suffering or even religious beliefs is turning something powerful into something negative – it can not only damage the person you are aiming at but yourself because you may well feel guilty when you get a poor response.
Bringing more humor into your life is not just about finding the funny side of your current situation. It’s an active process of seeking out more laughter and opportunities to look on the brighter side of life. You need to surround yourself with people who are humorous and combine that with not taking life too seriously. Yes, there are moments when things will happen in your life that are no laughing matter but having a positive foundation in your life may well help you cope with these moments better and recover more quickly.