If you don’t know me beyond this blog you might think I am quite serious. Contemplative. It is true that as I have grown older I have cultivated this side of myself more. I enjoy deeper conversations and more meaningful connections.
But, the real me LOVES to have fun. And I LOVE to laugh.
I have always tried to be an example and inspiration of levity and love to those around me. When my son was young and had to note something about me for a project I was overjoyed when it came home saying, “My mom laughs about everything.” I am thrilled to model joy to them, even though life is not filled with sunshine and rainbows.
Funny friends love to have me around, as they know that I will be the one to laugh at almost every one of their jokes. I love stupid movies and immature slapstick. I even laugh when uncomfortable (which is not a good quality, but true nevertheless).
I think life is quite funny, even when things are going terribly awry. Let’s be real—life can really suck sometimes. In those times of the deepest despair you probably won’t find laughter, and that is okay. But in the lighter sucky situations, often all you can do is shake your head and laugh, even if by definition there is nothing funny about it at all.
In my recent half iron competition I found myself walking for about a minute on the fully sun exposed desert path, telling myself audibly to “pull it the f*ck together.” I knew I was competing for a podium placement and that the responsibility fell on me to not give up. And although I was very serious about my performance and reaching my goal, I burst out laughing as I started running. I found it very funny that I was speaking out loud so sternly to myself (and also probably starting to lose my mind just a bit due to fatigue and being baked in the sun for so many hours). But, even while laughing I was able to keep pushing myself to my perceived best ability at that moment. And by breaking the potential of a downward spiral with laughter I believe I was able to move along at a faster pace to the finish line.
It wasn’t the only time I laughed at myself that day while simultaneously focusing on working my ass off. We can laugh and work hard—even when you are so covered in sticky nutrition that you don’t know where to wipe your dirty, salty face or hands; you experience a farmer blow gone astray (from yourself—NOT funny when from someone else!); or maybe even mistrusted a fart (okay- probably not funny in the moment, but definitely funny later).
Laughter strengthens your immune system, reduces stress, burns calories, lifts your mood, is good for your heart, can reduce pain perception, and connects us to others. And it just feels so good to laugh.
Need some tips on how to laugh more? Check out some of these ideas, adapted from
- Set the Intent to Laugh More. Make a resolution, or set the intent, of laughing heartily as often as you can. Tell yourself: “I resolve to laugh more”.
- Include Laughter in Your Morning Routine. Many of us have a routine that we follow every morning to help set us up to have a great day.
3. Smile More. Yes, I know: smiling is not laughing. However, smiling also has a myriad of benefits. When you smile, happy changes begin to take place automatically, both internally and externally. In addition, you can think of smiling as a warm up for laughing.
4. Befriend a Funny Person. Some people are just naturally funny. They may have a way with words, or they may have a wacky way of looking at the world. These people are gems. If you find one, befriend them immediately.
5. Have a Favorite Comedian. There are lots of great comedians out there, but almost everyone knows of at least one comedian who really appeals to their own particular sense of humor.
6. Follow a Funny Sitcom. Although I advocate watching less TV so that you have more time to read—or work on projects that are important to you—I’m not one of those people who argue that you shouldn’t watch any TV. Just make sure that you’re watching shows that you really enjoy.
7. Have More Fun on Date Night. Keep your relationship strong by laughing more with your partner. On date night, go to a comedy club. If you want to stay in, make some popcorn and watch a funny movie.
8. Read a Funny Book. A genuinely funny book is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
9. Find a Little Kid You Can Hang Out With. Little kids haven’t forgotten how to laugh yet. They’ll laugh at just about anything, and there are few things more infectious than a little kid’s laugh.
10. Get a Pet. More specifically, get a dog. Dogs make us laugh.
11. Play Fun Games With Friends. Playing competitive party-style games with a group of friends you enjoy hanging out with will have you laughing in no time.
12. Learn to Laugh at Yourself. Most of us take ourselves too seriously, which limits our ability to find the humor in difficult situations. In addition, it can make us uptight and overly sensitive to what other people may be thinking of us.
13. Take Up Something New. When you try something new–whether it’s to draw, perform a karate kick, or learn to roller blade— your initial attempts will likely be clumsy and even ridiculous. That is, funny.
14. Put Laughter Quotes Up On a Bulletin Board. Put up a bulletin board where you’ll be sure to see it often, and fill it with laughter quotes.
15. Do More of What Makes You Laugh. When was the last time you had a really good laugh? What were you Doing? Do more of that.
Life can be really serious. Use laughter to enjoy it and get some health benefit boosts when you can. No blog post next week, I am going to go unplug and laugh for a week in the sun with some amazing friends.
Create and take the opportunities to laugh.