A friend of mine fell off her bike this week. Not so much a laughing matter – until I clarify that she wasn’t hurt at all. Really she laughed because she said it reminded her of her childhood and took her back to simpler times filled with laughter.
Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. Laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun. Spreading joy is always a good thing.
In fact there’s a strong link between laughter and emotional health:
- Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter. But most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either sadness or delight. They fall into the gray zone of ordinary life–giving you the choice to laugh or not. Laughter can help make sure you don’t take yourself quite so seriously. It also strengthens our relationships as it allows positive bonds to be created.
Besides, I don’t know about you but I’d rather have wrinkles from laughing than frowning. I hope you find lots to laugh about this weekend.