“You can’t deny laughter;
when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair
and stays as long as it wants.”
Cliche as it might sound, laughter really is the best medicine -- and I can certainly vouch for that because I've had some experience with this recently. During a pretty stressful week in my life, I was lucky enough to receive quite a few doses of laughter. Last week was a hard week. One of the hardest I've had in awhile. There was stress. There was change. But you know what else was there? Laughter. As I was struggling to get through the week, one of the few things that pushed me through and pushed me forward was laughing.
Laughing can seem like a minor thing, something we do without really thinking much about it. We all do it from time to time (some more than others!) and we've been doing it since we were infants. It's something that we were rewarded for when we were tiny babies. Just think about how often people try to make babies laugh and how clearly pleased they appear once the giggle erupts from that tiny little mouth. We were encouraged to laugh and we received positive responses when we did so.
As we grew older, we realized that there are different types of laughter and different occasions when laughter is appropriate (one of which, I've learned, is not in the front row of a church). As we age, the meaning of laughter changes. It grows deeper and richer and has many more levels than it did when we were infants. As adults, we no longer have people cooing around us, trying to make us laugh, but sometimes, when we're really feeling down, there are people in our lives who can bring us happiness by making us laugh.
For me, laughter is one of the most positive things I can experience. I don't often think about it, but when I do, I realize that I really love to laugh. It's such a great feeling to experience that bubbling of infectious giggles, to look at someone else and know that s/he is experiencing that same thing. It's fantastic to have one of those laugh-out-loud moments when I'm reading a book or to hear someone issue a sassy reply that sends my shoulders shaking. (As was the case a few days ago when, upon waking to a Monday morning, my mouth spewing groans and complaints, a certain someone quipped, "Donde esta Dani?" Ah, the sassy references to me not being the Dani-of-Positively-Present get me every time!)
Laughter is one of those things that just makes you feel good. There's certainly negative laughter (such as laughing at someone), but today I want to focus on how we can bring more of the positive types of laughter into our lives. Just think about how great you would feel if you had a hearty laugh every single day! It would be amazing! I know life is complicated and tricky and messy and sometimes those laugh-out-loud moments aren't always all that accessible, but here are some tips for how to amp up the laughter in your life.
6 Ideas For Bringing More Laughter Into Your Life
Share something silly about yourself with a friend. One of the best moments I had last week when I was really struggling with some tough things was when I shared something silly about myself with a friend. I did something really ridiculous (I'll spare you the details) and, though I would have rather not told anyone about it, I decided to share it with her. She found it hilarious and we both ended up spending a few minutes laughing about it. It can be tempting not to share silly or embarrassing things with others, but sometimes it's one of the best ways to share a great laugh.
Don't forget to laugh at yourself. When you think about laughter and how you can bring more of it into your life, don't forget to spend some time laughing at yourself. I'm not talking about doing it in a mean way of course. I'm just saying this: don't take yourself too seriously. We all do silly things or embarrassing things and one of the best ways to turn a negative into a positive is to laugh about it. Laughing at others can be hurtful and mean, but laughing at yourself in a light-hearted way can be really entertaining and is a great way to perk yourself up.
Watch a funny TV show with someone you love. This is one of my favorite ways to cultivate a funny environment. There are a lot of great TV shows and films filled with comedic relief and they are one of the best ways to bring about a great deal of laughter in your life. Funny books can also be hilarious, but there's something about watching a TV show with someone else that really heightens the laughter. Laughter is great on its own, but it's even better when you share with others. There are obviously many ways to do this, but watching a comedy is one of the best ways to share the laughter love.
Support funny people by going to a comedy show. Even better than watching funny people on TV is actually going to a comedy show. Have you ever been to one? If not, I'd highly recommend it. Even the not-so-great ones are pretty funny. When you go to a show, it's the job of the person on stage to make you laugh. Their whole purpose for being there is to crack you up. So if you want more laughter in your life, this is one of the very best things to look into. It's a great way to not only watch something hilarious, but it also gives you an opportunity to share some great laugh-out-loud moments with a bunch of strangers. What could be better than that?
Help others get a laugh out of themselves. Sometimes others forget that it's okay to laugh at themselves. Some people forget that you can choose to laugh, even when you feel like crying. You can help people out by helping them realize that it's okay to laugh at themselves. Now, if you're going to work on this tip, be careful. It's not always appropriate for people to laugh at themselves and this one depends a lot on the type of person you're dealing with. Take that into consideration first, and then, if appropriate, help others find the funny.
- Find the humor in something serious. When we're faced with very serious situations, it can be very hard to see the good in them, let alone the humor. However, I realized over the past week that finding the humor in serious situations is one of the best ways to cope with difficulties. It can be very hard to do this, but if you have the will to, you can always find the silver, funny lining in a situation. Again, you have to make sure it's appropriate to laugh or joke about something, but once you determine that, you realize that shedding a little laughter on a dark subject can be just what you need to brighten things up.
As I mentioned, last week was a hard one for me. I learned a lot about myself and, in the process, learned a lot about the value of laughter. After experiencing these laughter-inducing moments first hand, I know there are great benefits to them. I felt a sense of relief after laughing. I felt a slight moment of being removed from whatever thoughts were plaguing my mind. Laughter offers us a break from the hard parts of life. Laughter offers us a chance to escape, even for a few moments, from the past and the future. Laughter allows us to really be in the moment. So, as Stephen King says above, don't deny laughter. Seek it out and let it stay with you as long as it likes.
How do you find laughter in your life?
What ideas to you have for laughing more often?