Humor as a tool to lift ailing spirits is an established notion supported by scientific research. The curative power of laughter and its ability to relieve debilitating stress and burnout may indeed be one of the great medical discoveries of our times.
You didn’t need a research study or an official-sounding website to tell you that, did you?
But sometimes reminders help. It’s Humor Appreciation Month, and as April winds down, we want to make sure you don’t miss it.
In the race to celebrate, children far outpace us. They laugh some 400 times a day, while we curmudeonly adults peak at a fraction of that, a paltry 40 times on a good day.
Is it time you upped your grinning game?
In case you need an excuse to diffuse the stress that our world strives to escalate at every pass, here are a few reasons you might want to turn that frown upside down.
- lowers stress hormones
- increases positive neurochemicals in the brain
- enhances memory
- boosts immune function manifold
- relaxes muscles
- releases endorphins (natural painkillers)
- improves digestion
- improves sleep
- helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar
- increases creativity and playfulness
- boosts morale
- enhances communication skills
- encourages a flexible mind-set
- fosters greater resilience in the face of adversity
- heightens optimism, well-being, positive emotions, and, yes, even fertility
- enriches the overall quality of life
- spikes oxytocin (the bonding hormone) when shared
- is contagious, rippling into the environment for the benefit of others
Thus humor, much more than mere diversion or mindless distraction, nourishes a healthy outlook that fortifies your own body and mind, as well as those of the people around you.
So where can you find mirth in the mundane?
- If you’re still stewing over that dinner debacle, perhaps commiserating over these food bombs will convince yourself (or your family) that your cooking really isn’t that bad, is it?
- Or if you’re bemoaning the latest household catastrophe or barely averted ER visit, maybe this video clip will put it in perspective?
- Or if you’re just plain having trouble finding the incredible in the humdrum and wearisome, then may we suggest a chapter out of this book? (A P2P favorite, it’s perfect for family read-alouds and long car trips, too!)
- Or challenge your own brain to flip the switch on stress. Can you take the day’s most stressful events and give them an amusing spin—or perhaps create a cartoon out of them?
Incidentally, April is not only Humor Appreciation Month but also Stress Awareness Month. What easier way to begin displacing stress than intentionally finding the funny in life—or at least embracing its ironies with glee?
If you don’t resonate with the risible, there are more staid ways to fend off stress, some of which we’ve shared before (like here and here). And stay tuned for next month, when we’ll be offering more powerful tools for stress reduction.
In the meantime, how are you exercising your funny bone? What inspires your inner comedian? How are you harnessing humor to supplant stress? Good cheer multiplies when you share it!