Laughter: What a Wonderful Gift

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle, American comedian and actor (1908-2002)

Few remedies for an instant pick-me-up are as readily accessible as laughter. Best of all, laughter doesn’t cost a dime. Being free and easily available, though, doesn’t always mean people make use of this wonderful gift.

Maybe it’s time we do.

Think for a minute about the last time you had a good belly laugh. If you can recall that incident, you likely also remember the time immediately afterward as being better. Whatever might have been causing concern or seemed like a problem prior to laughing was more likely than not to seem less troubling after the good laugh.

Laughter: What a Wonderful GiftLaughter has the almost magical ability to soften the edges of worry, fear, anger, loneliness, depression, and anxiety – really a litany of negative emotions. Why in the world would we ignore such a priceless tool at our disposal?

There’s no need to sit by idly. It is easy enough to get on the laughter bandwagon. Take the opportunity to seek out laughter or situations where laughter might erupt. It could be a visit to a comedy club with friends or a significant other. Maybe there’s a particular friend, co-worker, neighbor or relative who always seems to have a steady stream of jokes they’re willing to share. Instead of turning away, thinking you are too busy or don’t have time for such silliness, listen. If you can’t summon a full-fledged laugh, a smile is a good first step.

Rent a few comedies or search video on demand for some of the classic comic movies. Make a healthy snack, like air-popped popcorn, and sit down with family or friends to enjoy yourself.

Another time-proven tip is to look for what’s humorous in everyday living. If something appears negative, turn it on its head and imagine it as the most ludicrous thing possible. Envisioning the comedic proportions this way can help defuse a distressing situation, build in some distance and allow for regrouping. What this means in real terms is that by buying some time, there’s less likelihood of overreacting or reacting in a negative manner.

Besides all these benefits of a good laugh, laughter can lead to improvements in overall health and mental well-being. There’s absolutely no downside to a good laugh. Maybe your sides will ache from an unexpected bout of the giggles, and this is a little reminder that laughter is a muscle that needs exercising.

Go on, get your smile on. There’s no time like the present.

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