We’re going through a difficult time. All of us. It affects all of us a little differently but more and more I see the stress in friends’ faces and I hear an edge to their voices on the phone. All in all, some of us feel a little less resilient. I look to exercise to offset stress but friends and family members also remind me of the value of humor. It isn’t just a temporary respite from one’s worries; there are more studies now that look at the longer-term physiological and emotional effects of laughter. One University of Maryland Medical Center study suggests that the ability to laugh at stressful situations can help lessen the damaging physical effects of distressing emotions.
There’s no lack of information about the benefits of humor. I did two separate Web searches and found over a million related links popped up in less than 24 seconds:
My sense is that while we all know that humor and laughter is good for us, it may seem a little harder to incorporate it regularly into our lives right now. A number of things may weigh on our minds: the recession, our bank accounts, job and employment stress, the war, family health issues, marital and relationship rancor – well the list seems to go on and on. That is, only if we let it.
I did an informal survey of some friends and colleagues. I asked, “What makes you laugh? ” And “What do you do to get more laughter in your life?”
Here’s what I heard:
- Spend time with young children, they are natural comedians.
- Invite your funniest friends over for dinner (The funny ones, not just the snarky ones. It is more fun if they laugh at themselves and not at the expense of others.)
- Watch or rent a really funny movie or show. Favorites mentioned included Will Farrell, Tracey Ullman , Bill Cosby and George Carlin
“Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that.”
- Find an up and coming funny person. One close friend I know is particularly fond of new show on Comedy Central with Demetri Martin
- Watch this video on YouTube with the laughing baby (over 78 million views)
- Find an improvisational comedy performance or class. Improv Asylum in Boston is popular and there are likely to be others near you.
- Keep amusing pictures or objects in your home and work space.
What would you add to this list? What do you do for fun? How do you surround yourself with people that make you laugh?
Photo credit Jogiboarder