Don’t you love a contagious laugh, the sort that invites you in? Perhaps a giggle, chortle, cackle or a deep belly laugh, a lung–squeezing, belly-shaking, eye-watering laugh that makes your sides ache, the sort that doesn’t know when to stop.
That really exhausted feeling you get after a jolly good laugh is your body responding to laughter in the same way it does to a workout. It's been called "internal jogging". Your blood pressure decreases and laughter gives your diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory and back muscles a workout. It relaxes 17 facial muscles!
It's a stress buster. It can lift your spirits, change your mood and defuse a tense situation. Research shows we are 30 times more likely to laugh with other people than we are to laugh alone, so laughter connects us to others and reduces loneliness. Laughter reduces pain by releasing endorphins that are more powerful than the equivalent amounts of morphine.
And there's new evidence from the American Institute of Cardiology that laughter helps your blood vessels function better. It acts on the inner lining of blood vessels, called the endothelium, causing vessels to relax and expand, increasing blood flow ... good for the heart and brain. So there are plenty of reasons to take laughter seriously!
I suspect heaven rings with laughter. Nature constantly points me to a humorous and whimsical Creator who made a Kookaburra's laugh and the cumbersome and awkward looking Pelican, yet when it soars, is there anything more graceful?
There’s the peculiar looking Red-lipped Batfish that looks like something from a Revlon lipstick advertisement and it’s a fish that doesn't swim but walks around on the bottom of the ocean. There are plants that snare and eat insects alive and an endless array of strange, weird and intriguing animals and insects that must have been created by a fun-loving God.
- Wear odd socks tomorrow - one red, one green
- Scour the op shop for that crazy shirt and silly hat and dare to different
- Fill your home with laughter
- Invest in some good quality fun movies and watch with family, friends or someone who is lonely or doesn't get out much - my favourite, The Intouchables. If you can recommend others, please leave a comment and share so others can enjoy them too
- Defuse tension with laughter. My son arrived for his HSC English exam to find his classmates super stressed and panicking. He assured them that they'd all be fine - "Just remember, E=mc2" - they dissolved into laughter and the stress dissipated
- Relive some funny memories with family or friends - "Remember when ... "
- Befriend people who bring out the fun side of you, they are a priceless gift
- Kidnap a friend, a grandchild or neighbour - do something fun together and laugh a lot
- Cultivate the habit of looking for the funny side of life
- Remember, a day without laughter is a day wasted
- Treasure laughter as a precious gift and share abundantly