Yes, laughing matters, and is probably more important than ever given the challenges in the world. If you are paying attention to the news most events are not laughing matters!
A deep belly laugh, though, is a valuable way to navigate through these troubling times. Laughing can help you lighten up when you may feel trapped in drama-filled circumstances. The lighter you feel you, the more positive your mood. The situations may still be upsetting, but now you can access your Creator essence and choose a more resourceful way to relate to the situation.
There are many ways to pursue comic relief, be it through movies, funny television programs, and connecting with friends and family that make you laugh. We recently heard there is also the practice of “laughter yoga” that is growing in popularity!
I (David) grew up with a dad who was a tremendous “punster” and my two brothers and I trade puns via text (some of which elicit a comic groan from Donna). I also start my day by looking at comic strips via a subscription service.
Here is one of my favorites (Calvin and Hobbes). Given our work is about transcending Victimhood with the help of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®, you can imagine I laughed long and hard when I read this one: Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip
There is no doubt that laughing enhances your creativity as you “lighten up” and see things from a broader perspective. Focusing on the lighter side of life changes your Inner State from fear and anxiety to more joy and pleasure. In this way, humor can support how you answer the 1st Vital Question: “Where are you putting your focus?”
A word of caution, however. Humor can be tricky. Toxic humor that makes fun of others can be demeaning, stereotyping, and hurtful. If another is the brunt of a joke, they may feel Persecuted, whether the jokester intends it or not. Ask yourself what your intention is before you share a joke. Is your intention to authentically connect, or to be critical and demeaning?
Have you ever wondered why you cannot tickle yourself? It’s because tickling is an alert signal that someone is trying to connect with you. When a parent tickles a baby and receives a giggle, the parent smiles back. Tickling is an important way to bond together from a very early age.
A good laugh boosts the part of your brain that releases the so-called “feel good” endorphins. These chemicals can temporarily relieve both physical and psychological pain. Even “fake” laughter stimulates these hormones. Laughter also stimulates your circulation so more blood reaches your vital organs, reduces stress, and improves your immune system.
Here are a few suggestions for increasing laughter in your life:
- Recognize that laughter and fun may be missing in your life. If so, be intentional about adding both in your day.
- Substitute comedy movies for the darker ones.
- Search for your favorite comedians (Bob Newhart and Jonathan Winters are favorites of David) and watch their old sitcoms or clips on YouTube.
- Ask co-workers how to have more fun together. Start your Zoom meetings with jokes, puns, or ugly sweater contests.
- Conduct an internet search for “daily comics” that land in your inbox each morning.
Laughter connects you to other people. It is almost impossible to remain angry and judging of others when you laugh and have a good time together. Think of the many areas of conflict today in the news, politics, and different cultures. If we all laughed together a little more, it certainly would be a good thing.