“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mr. Emerson has bestowed a lot of wisdom in that quote. It is by far one of my favorites; one by which I strive to live. Indeed we can take away a lot from such a quote, but to laugh often and much will be the concentration of this post. Here, are 5 reasons you should make laughter a priority in your life every day:
1. Laughter reduces stress- Think about it. When was the last time you just about rolled on the floor, you laughed so hard? How did you feel afterwards? A little sore in the abdominal region, maybe, but likely you felt happier and more at ease. A hearty belly laugh just seems to put things back in perspective while releasing built up tension. A merry laugh increases health-benefiting hormones like endorphins while reducing stress hormones like cortisol.
2. Laughter helps you refocus- A bout of laughter may be just what you need to revaluate and put things back in perspective. Developing a sense of humor can give you a new outlook on life. So you missed your mouth and got toothpaste all over your shirt this morning. Laughing at yourself instead of becoming angry and frustrated sets you up to have a much better day. It will also make a humorous story to bring laughter to your coworkers. This brings me to point three.
3. Laughter has social benefits- Laughter draws people together. It brings a connection with others that nothing else can. Think about a time when something really funny happened. You are likely to remember whom you were with, and all the fun you shared over the experience. Humorous interactions are memorable interactions. Next time you get together with friends or family try bringing some humor to the event. Be playful and watch as the mood elevates. It’s infectious.
4. Laughter is medicine after all- Not only does laughter provides a physical release that reduces tension, but also studies indicate it actually boosts immunity. When we laugh and take on a lighthearted perspective, infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells are increased. Laughter can improve blood vessel function and decrease blood sugar spikes. I suppose this is why laughter is now considered a legitimate therapy.
5. Laughter may make you smarter- Last but not least, laughter can improve brain function. Laughter stimulates both right and left hemispheres of the brain igniting creativity. It opens the mind and heart to new ideas and experiences. Laughter can increase problem-solving skills, helping one become more efficient at daily tasks. Sounds like a fun way to become smarter to me.
Whatever reason you choose to implement more humor in your life, make it a priority. Watch a comedy, find a child to play with, go out with friends. Laugh at yourself and enjoy it. Your health and life will thank you. As Ethel Barrymore once said, “You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.”
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