It's No Joke

Ok.  I admit it.
I have spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours watching completely horrible, ridiculously sophomoric, absolutely inane comedy movies. 

It’s not something I’m proud of.  Truth be told, I’ve denied it more than once.
I can’t stop myself – I crave the laughter.  So much so that I’ll sit through even the stupidest movie if it offers the hope (or even the slightest promise) of one of those all out, sidesplitting, tear-streaming belly laughs.
And guess what?  Countless peer reviewed studies say that’s a good thing!
In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, laugher can:

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.

  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.

  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.

  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.

And, my mindful friends, guess where laughter exists?  You know this one.
It exists in the present moment!  Just like your senses, laughter occurs in the here and now – making laughter a mindful practice.
I know sometimes you don’t feel like laughing.  I totally get it.  But that’s when we need it the most. 

And where this week’s tip comes in.

This Week:
Laugh your way to peace and health…even when you’re not in the mood.

1.  Just smile. 
Weird, I know, but faking a smile can go a long way to improving your mood. 

Smiling is a neurological trigger that gets those neuropeptides the Mayo Clinic was mentioning pumping through your body. 

Give it a try.  Hold a smile for 30 seconds and see how you feel. 

Try doing it with a friend, and I dare you not to start laughing, no matter what your mood.

2.  Try laughter yoga.
Yup, it’s a real thing.  Put your hands on your hips, take a long, deep, breath and pound out the biggest, loudest belly laugh you can.

Again, this is a fake it for your own good technique.  Think Santa - how do you think he stays so jolly under all that pressure?

3.  Go old school. 
Movies, books, knock-knock jokes.  No matter what your mood is going in, chances are you’ll crack a smile - maybe you’ll even chuckle a few times. 

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll hit the jackpot and laugh your head off!