Here’s a basic suggestion to make each day of your life better: Laugh more! The average child laughs as much as 300 times a day. (If you have a child, or are around kids, you know how they’ll laugh at just about anything – pets, bottles of ketchup, elephant jokes. They make great audiences.) In contrast, the average adult laughs around a dozen times a day. That’s a shame, because if we grow old without keeping our sense of humor, we’re missing out on a ton of physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and mental benefits.
Laughter rejuvenates our neurological pathways. One scientific study I saw contended that 10 minutes of solid belly laughs is equivalent to two hours of sleep. (So, you’ve got a perfect reason to stay up all night watching old “Three Stooges” re-runs, right?) If you want anecdotal evidence of laughter’s healing powers, just look at some of the famous comedians – Bob Hope and George Burns, to name two – who lived well beyond average life spans despite smoking and drinking way more than your average college frat boy.
No one ever watches a comedian or comes out of a funny movie saying, “I’m not going to do that anymore.” And, there’s even a benefit to forcing yourself to laugh – physiologically, our brains and bodies don’t know the difference between fake laughter and the real deal. You may not even believe it, but there’s a new movement popping up around the country: Laughing yoga. No downward-facing dogs or cobras required – just a group of folks getting together to laugh, and then eventually to laugh at the fact that they’re forcing themselves to laugh.
Laughter is a tremendous cleanser – it purges your system, like tears for your soul, some people say. When you can share laughter – telling embarrassing stories or jokes or even just passing along goofy videos that you found funny – it can break down barriers. Best of all, it’s the perfect way to cultivate your childlike side, because those darn kids laugh at anything and everything.
Hey, do you know how to tell when an elephant is hiding under your bed?
Answer: Your nose is squashed against the ceiling. (Don’t worry. Tell it to a group of seven-year-olds and they’ll think you’re hilarious)
What makes you laugh every day? What do you do to help others get their daily dose of laughter? Comment below and let me know!