Make Me Laugh – Finding Humor in the Not So Funny

Did you ever notice that sometimes it is hard to find anything funny, especially when you are feeling down? With overwhelming daily routines and personal pressures, having a good ole’ belly laugh while feeling stressed out and bogged down is easier said then done, right?

Maybe not, psychologists now say that even one minute of forced laughter is as mood enhancing as real laughter. Since the body does not know the difference between genuine and pretend laughter it naturally releases endorphins, the stress reducing hormones that make you feel good.’ Similarly, the relatively new concept of Laughter (Hasya) Yoga started in India in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria focuses on the same premise that laughter can in fact be independent of humour and still have therapeutic benefits. By teaching the body certain breathing techniques, simple stretches and Ho Ho Ha Ha chants, students reap the undisputed health benefits that laughter provides, by reducing stress, boosting the immune system, relaxing muscle tension, lowering blood pressure and oxygenating the blood, just to name a few.’

Finding humour and laughter in difficult and stressful times is indeed challenging. However, laughter may be the best coping mechanism we have to get us through tough times. When my mom had terminal Cancer, she insisted there could not be any doom and gloom around her and so the very best medicine we could give her and ourselves was humour and laughter. In such a helpless, horrible situation there is only two things you can do, feel sorry and cry or enjoy your last moments together with laugher, the very best emotion there is. By finding humour in the most dreadful of situations you shift focus and bring about a much needed dose of normality, unite with those you care about, and feel a little better.

Here are a few tips to help you bring laughter to the surface during tough times.

-Find humour in all things. Recognize the absurdity or ridiculousness of situations and circumstances.

-Laugh at yourself. Be a little silly, over-exaggerate your simple mistakes, embellish a few of your shortcomings

-Be spontaneous. The element of surprise is priceless, improvise and act on the unexpected

-Do humour related activities. Watch funny movies, read a funny book or play a funny game

Finding humour in the least of funny of situations can be very empowering, it teaches us to shift perspective, relinquish negative energy, heal the ailing spirit, and connect with others. Make a conscious effort to bring more humour into your daily life and you will be more inclined to tap into your funny side when you need laughter most. Laughter is not just an expression of happiness but an essential value for personal development.

Laugh to Humor Your Health and Your Creativity

Have you laughed you daily dose of laughter today? One big LOL can turn a stressful and lousy day into perfect merry day. If you haven’t laughed by 9:00 a.m. on any given day, then your day is off to a poor start. Everyone is familiar with the old cliché “Laughter is the best medicine.” Real life experiences tell us that this cliché is absolutely correct. According to medical experts we only need 15 chuckles a day keeps the doctor away.

Laughter comes in many forms; it could be subtle smile to a bursting belly laugh. You don’t have guffaw and fall out of chair, or laugh until you cry to be laughing sufficiently. A simple smile is a step in the right direction. Humor can be a powerful ally in sustaining wellness and preventing lapses. Several researches proved that laugher releases chemical in the brains namely the beta-endorphins and enkephalins, which are natural pain killers. These natural pain killers are believed to be 100 times much stronger than any morphine- or opium-based drugs usually taken as painkillers.

Psychologist Alice M. Isen and colleagues conducted a study to a group of college students to determine how laughter affects creativity. Given a box of matches, a box of tacks, and a candle, the college students were asked how they would affix the candle to a corkboard so that when the candle is lighted the wax would not drip onto the corkboard. Before attempting to solve the problem, some group of students watched a comedy film of television bloopers that would put into laughter. The other group of students watched Area Under a Curve, a math film. The researchers found that 75% of the students put into a cheerful condition solved the problem correctly, whereas only 20% of students who watched the math film got it correct. Watching comedy shows such as Hannah Montana or J.O.N.A.S! can induce a good amount of chuckle to complete your daily dose of laughter.

Furthermore, laughter benefits the whole cardiovascular system through dilation of blood vessels and increase of blood flow throughout your body. When you laugh you gulp in large amount of air, which creates a rich, highly oxygenated flow of blood. When you laugh your blood pressure and heart rate increase as much as you exercise, but after the laughter subsides, both your blood pressure and heart rate return to levels lower than you started. As a result, you feel refreshed all over after a good dose of laughter. It is interesting that even the Bible agree with the power of laughter. On Proverbs 17:22 it states that “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Love your self and have a good laugh today!

Mindfulness and Humor – Celebrating Belly Laugh Day

My friend Elaine Helle in Oregon thought it would be fun to give the whole world something to laugh about.

As a laughter yoga teacher–her personal tagline is “Laugh for the health of it!”–she knows the power of a good belly laugh. And so, she started Belly Laugh Day, which will be celebrated around the world on January 24th at 1:24 pm local time.

On this day, people everywhere will pause in the middle of a busy day to smile, throw their hands up into the air and laugh out loud.

This isn’t just one of those holidays that somebody made up and nobody honors. This one actually has coordinated silliness scheduled in places all over the globe. People will gather–or stop where they are at work or school or home–and laugh hard and long at the appointed time. Laughers will send in stories, photos and videos of their Belly Laugh experience to share with others on Elaine’s website.

I’ve always said that if you’re not laughing, you’re not learning. Can you get through an entire day without laughing? You shouldn’t. You see, there’s power–and wisdom–in lightening up. If hours go by without a guffaw or at least a giggle, you’re not allowing yourself to see the silliness all around you.

Oh, I know there are days when it doesn’t seem possible to laugh. After all, terrible things do happen. But on 99 percent of your days, you’ve got a dozen reasons to laugh.

And the other 1 percent? Trust me on this: those are the days during which you are MOST in need of laughter!

I’ve laughed at the bedside of someone who is dying. I’ve howled while holding hands with someone who has tried (unsuccessfully) to kill himself. I’ve giggled even when I felt I couldn’t take another day of life in this world.

Thank goodness.

You see, that’s the tipping point. When you can laugh while smack in the middle of a crappy day– or a real tragedy–you know you’re going to be okay. You’ve tapped into the secret of the Belly Laugh.

Elaine knows the secret, and she’s not whispering it. Instead, she’s shouting it from the virtual rooftops, engaging gigglers from the North Pole to Antarctica.

Let Belly Laugh Day on January 24th remind you of the value of seeing the silliness all around you. Open your eyes and find something to smile about every HOUR.

What, you can’t spare five seconds every waking hour? Then you SERIOUSLY need to lighten up– or, as I like to say, get En*Lightened(TM).

Yes, laugh out loud on Belly Laugh Day, but don’t stop there. Make it your personal mission to have a laugh every hour.

You’ll be happier, healthier, and a whole lot more fun to be around.