Life is full of ups and downs, even severe drops. Regardless of what happens, we all need a break from the heavy feelings of dread in order to laugh our way to some happiness during extended periods of stress.
Trust me, I get that it isn’t easy — or appropriate — to chuckle our way through the days we feel hit the hardest.
Illness, death, heartache, terrorism, poverty, crumbling relationships, shocking tragedy at both the personal and global level … the list is endless. But even in the midst of it, perhaps especially in the midst of, I advocate for finding a good laugh.
A joke won’t set a broken bone, but it can mend a troubled relationship and dispel stress.
Laughter goes a long way to heal us emotional, physically, and socially. It boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, restores hope, and connects us to others. There’s a reason the military uses laughter therapy as treatment for our troops, and cancer centers encourage it for their patients — it works!
When times are tough, your body shuts down. Pretty soon, you start finding it difficult to communicate with friends, family and neighbors.
But share a laugh and, once again, you’re united.
Here are eight ways to reconnect to the things that tickle your funny bone and rediscover a lighter path to get you through those rocky days.
1. Get out of that chair and get to an exercise class.
Exercise cures most ills, at least to some degree. Dance, run, do “laughter yoga“! Shake off sadness or cry it out through your sweat until you feel the giggle rise again.
2. Let the music play!
Put on some tunes that raise your mood and let loose. Feel yourself rise up — literally — as the music lifts you. Surely you have some favorites? If not, do a search for “happy music” or a category that you like and listen until you hum.
3. Open a lighthearted tale and read.
You don’t need to scrutinize a comedy to start chortling again. Anything that allows you to see life in your particular vein of wisdom with an insight of lightness will do just fine!
4. Pull out the popcorn and watch a movie.
Same approach applies for film as it does for prose. Watch a show that brings out the lighter side in life and broaden your view for a few hours. The undeniable relief you feel can be quite addictive!
5. Spend time with friends.
Is there anything better? We all know that sharing hard times makes them easier and we don’t need to do anything more than be in each others’ company enjoying our time together. So make a date, do karaoke or just have that coffee together to share your (profoundly insightful) comments on the latest fashion.
6. Be in nature.
Nature has a way of lifting us up, whether we start out with that goal or not. Try it. Go outside and just be in nature for awhile, absorbing it. Admit in all honesty that you don’t feel better.
7. Spend time with children.
Kids haven’t learned the harmful patterns adults have so they’ve retained the charming innocence that is delightfully heartwarming. If you don’t have kiddos of your own, just watch them play in a playground or observe a family.If they’re yours, build a fort together out of blankets, have a pillow fight, or ride bikes.
8. Romp with some real animals.
Pets are pure love. Take dogs for a walk, play with cats, or interact with any species and just try not to be taken under their spell of love. Watch for that bubble of laughter to start rising.
Your life may not instantly transform after trying these ideas, but when we lift ourselves through the toughest days with laughter, we become healthier and able to cope more effectively. Not only will the tough times be easier, but our brighter outlook will help us notice solutions when they arise!
Doesn’t that bring a smile to your face?