Health & Wellbeing – Go Ahead and Laugh, Seniors: It’s Good for You

laughing Life can be full of stress and trying circumstances. The financial news is bad, the political news is bad and often local news is filled with reports of crime, accidents and every manner of negative information. Let’s start a revolution. Let’s decide to be happy.

Research studies report over and over again on the benefits of laughter and a positive outlook on life. Children laugh often and with very little provocation. We oldsters should choose to do the same. There are many benefits of laughing each and every day and lots of good reasons to choose a positive outlook on this life we’ve been given. Here are a few good reasons to laugh.

Laughter is a natural stress reducer. Studies show that when people laugh, their whole body relaxes. In fact laughter relieves physical tension for up to forty-five minutes. It also improves the function of the heart, boosts the immune system by increasing the number of infection-fighting antibodies, and triggers the production of endorphins which are mood improvement chemicals within. And laughter involves a tightening of abdominal muscles—good for a flatter tummy.

Laughter is catching. You’ve been around Eeyores and then you’ve been around Tiggers. Both can be challenging, but I’ll bet you’d choose to be around a happy person much more often than a gloomy one. Laughter makes the people around smile. When we smile, we encourage others to do so—it’s a circular kind of thing.  Laughter alleviates worry and can distract those in pain. Smiles and laughter are free, yet they can do so much for others.

Laughter draws people closer together. Laughing with friends increases both happiness and intimacy. You are sharing experiences that draw you closer. You are trusting others with your feelings and choosing to have fun together. You’ll find that you want to get together more often with friends who help you relax and have fun.

So, What’s Funny?

T.V. and Movies

Be intentional about choosing some screen entertainment that is funny. There are  lots of choices out there that are historical or scientific or filled with action and adventure and those have their place, but once in a while choose something that is just plain silly and makes you laugh.

Friends

Good friends are hard to find. You might want to take an inventory of those you spend the most time with and evaluate their impact on you. Are their lives filled with troubles and angst? Do they drag you down with them and lead you to focus  only on the difficult things in life? Maybe it’s time to find some new friends who enjoy life and make the most of its pleasures.

Life’s Circumstances

Yes, it’s true there are many sad parts of life. But how about taking a look at the endearing parts and laughing about them even if it’s pointing the finger at  yourself. How about the time you put the coffee pot in the refrigerator? That’s funny. Give yourself permission to laugh at the silly things people say and do.

Jokes

Find websites or books filled with jokes. Believe it or not, there are many. Maybe you’d enjoy learning some jokes to tell your friends at your next get-together.

Game Nights

Choose light-hearted games that don’t require too much strategy and focus. Play word games, acting-out games and board games that are less about winning and more about the interactions between the players.

Children

I can’t think of a more smile-inducing sound than the carefree laughter of children. Hang around them and watch the ways they interact. Listen to them talk and the interesting ways they express their thoughts. Kids will make you laugh.

Playcations

Take the stress out of your next vacation by simplifying and reducing the cost.  Just hang out in your own neighborhoods or cities and find cheap and free things to do. Explore the out of doors, go for hikes or picnics. Gather with friends  around the barbecue or hot tub or fire pit. Sing songs, tell stories, keep it simple  but be sure to laugh a lot.

When you think about it, choosing laughter makes sense. Life is short and precious. We can choose to enjoy each day or just trudge ahead with a load of stress on our shoulders.

Check out some of the articles and website below to join the discussion on the benefits of laughter in daily life.

Helpguide

Care 2

Umm.edu

Fifteen Funny Websites

Funnyjunk

Squidoo