It’s common sense that laughter makes us feel better, but to discover all of its benefits, experts have been studying the power of laughter since the 1960s. There’s even an official word for this branch of science: gelotology (from the greek gelos, which means “laughter”).
What have they discovered? Laughter may increase circulation, boost mental function, decrease pain and stress, release endorphins that help people feel happier and more. With all those benefits, it’s plain to see that laughter is good medicine. Here are seven ways to laugh more:
- Tune in to television shows that make you laugh. Ninety-year-old comedian and actress Betty White recently debuted a new show called “Off Their Rockers,” where older Americans pull pranks on the younger generations!
- Find a comedian you love and rent their videos, watch them on TV or online, or even go see them live. Comedians come in all types, and one person’s jokes may not be at all funny to you, so don’t give up. Watch clips from many comedians online or on TV to decide who tickles your funny bone before viewing an entire show.
- Enjoy a night of improv. Most cities have improv clubs where comedians perform standup routines or act out scenarios that weren’t pre-rehearsed. Check out the comedians who will be coming to town in your area, and see a comedy show live – after all, laughter really is contagious, so being around other people ready to laugh will help you laugh out loud too.
- Sign up for a laughter yoga class. Laughter yoga classes combine the benefits of yoga with the benefits of laughter. It turns out even simulated laughter – laughter you create on command and on purpose – has the same healthy results as spontaneous laughter. Laughter yoga is one type of laughter therapy, where trained instructors help get you laughing to reap the rewards on a regular basis. Make sure you’re medically cleared before beginning any new physical activity.
- Read the comics or a funny book.
- Last but not least, schedule get togethers with friends and have a good time – including lots of laughter. Friends are good for your health just like laughter is, so combine the two for a truly relaxing afternoon or evening.
Sure, life can be stressful, but the simple act of laughing provides a host of benefits. Take time to crack up every day, and if anyone asks what’s so funny, have a few jokes ready to help spread the joy.