Happy Sunday Educators! I’m jumping right into this blog with a question for you. When was the last time you laughed out loud…for real? How many times in a day do you laugh? I know these seem like ridiculous questions to ask in such a serious and somber time in our world but the more serious it gets, the more necessary it becomes to have discussions such as these. We can only contract for so long before our restricted nature begins to harm our health and wellbeing. Times are tough…I get it. There are real concerns and as time has progressed, the challenges have become more significant. Believe me…this is not a call to ignore reality. It is an opportunity to consider infusing your time, your day, and your life with a bit more joy consistently. Let’s talk a bit about laughter.
The research is inconclusive on the full benefits of laughter and there have not been enough studies done to definitively link laughter to specific health benefits but the following are some of the preliminary benefits and facts that are being touted:
Laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and increase immunity
Reduces stress hormones such as Cortisol (the dreaded belly fat hormone), epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine, and growth hormone
Increases endorphins that help us to feel good
Increases the antibodies and enhances the effectiveness of our T-cells that support a more vibrant immune system
Internal workout targeting the belly (requires a true belly laugh)
Works as a great distraction, lessening the effects of consistent focus on the negative
Promotes a more lighthearted perspective even in light of challenging situations
Serves as connective tissue to hold us socially together with others
I don’t know about you but even if the jury is still out on some of these benefits, the fact that there is a probability that it can support even one of these is a good reason for me to be more intentional about laughing. Now, here’s another small and sobering fact I ran across...
Healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, but adults…possibly as little as 15 times per day
When I read this I found myself wondering, do children still laugh this much and, do adults even hit 15 times?! This is sad. So, let’s assume the benefits are true, it really would help us all to figure out how to get a bit more laughter into our lives. Even if it isn’t fully proven…think about the last time you laughed hard and how you felt afterward. We probably don’t need research to confirm that it can elevate our mood. So, let’s talk about a few ways to up the joy in our lives through laughter…
Find the comedies, shows, and movies that help you laugh and infuse a bit into each day. Create a rule that if you watch 30 minutes of depressing and soul-numbing news that you’ll have to pair it with 30 minutes of comedy. Not sure what to watch? Ask a few friends for suggestions and you’ll be loaded with plenty in a few minutes.
Laugh with your social circle. Find the family members and friends that bring joy to your life and connect with them more often. Some argue that it isn’t simply the laughing that changes a mood but the people and connections at play.
Make it a point to find joy and humor in life. There is humor all around us and we’ll find it if we’re willing to suspend our need to be serious at all times.
What do you think is your daily baseline for laughter? Do you likely hit the 15 referenced? Let’s take this week and focus on bringing more joy into lives by focusing on laughter. Set Monday as your day to track and with each subsequent day, try to either match or beat your previous number. This might seem trivial but I’m almost certain that by tipping the scales of our emotions toward a more positive feeling, we’ll begin to feel a bit more empowered to weather the current challenges.
Here's to more laughter and joy in our world...
In Solidarity and Love,