I spent the day yesterday holiday shopping with a close friend. I was able to cross a few things off my list, but what i really got out of the day was a lot of fun. We laughed so much! Not sure exactly what we were laughing about, but we seemed to find humor everywhere we turned. When i finally made it into bed last night, it was with a peaceful, all-is-well-with-the-world feeling, even though I’ve still got a ton of things to get accomplished in the next few weeks. Needless to say, that really felt good.
In the midst of holiday preparations, it’s easy to get lost in stress. Finding the humor in our daily lives can be a significant boon to easing stress. According to an article on about.com, the benefits of laughter include:
- Reducing stress hormones (like cortisol)
- Increasing health-enhancing hormones (such as endorphins)
- Providing physical and emotional release
- Providing a workout of sorts ("a belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.")
- Distracts from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions
- Provides perspective to "help us view events as ‘challenges’, thereby making them less threatening and more positive."
- Helps us connect with others.
If you were lucky enough to join us this past fall for our humor week at Green Mountain, you received expert instruction in how to bring more humor into your life. We plan to repeat that excellent program next year — we’ll let you know when as soon as it’s scheduled.
In the meantime, resolve to make humor happen for you. The about.com article lists a few ways. Read the article for detailed info, but I just highlight them here.
- Check out comedies on tv and videos (caution: avoid the marginal ones — of which there are plenty on tv; they may frustrate more than entertain you)
- Laugh with friends. Go to movies or comedy clubs as a group.
- Find humor in your life. Laugh instead of complain about your frustrations.
- ‘Fake it until you make it.’ Faked laughter actually provides the benefits of real laughter!