You may have heard that laughter is the best medicine. Why is that you ask? They say it improves health enhancing hormones and reduces stress hormones. That sounds nice, right?
Here's just a few other benefits that are said to be attributed to a good ole belly laugh.
- Improves mood (not surprising but still!)
- Pain management
- Cognitive health
- Cardiovascular health
- Internal Workout (work those abs 😄)
- Helps the immune system
- Stimulates organs by improved oxygen intake
- Physical and mental release
And there's probably more that we just don't even know!
We all like to have a reason to laugh but when you are going through hard things it's not always easy to feel like laughing and it might be even harder to find something to laugh at. No one likes to be sad or stressed. So what do we do when we don't feel cheerful enough to laugh?
I think the first thing to remember is that it's ok to be sad sometimes. We just have to be careful about staying in that place. Sometimes tears are as much of a release as anything. But when we are ready to laugh what do we do?
How to Laugh When Times are Tough
Start with a smile. If you don't have the strength to laugh then smile instead. Smiling releases endorphins that will lead to you feeling happier. Who would have thought, huh?
- Fake it til you make it. It's ok to fake it til you make it. Believe it or not you can reap the benefits without it being real. This reminds me of a quote by William James that says "We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we are happy because we laugh." As a side note, this does not mean we should be insincere. It just means that sometimes faking having fun and laughing will actually lead to you feeling better.
- Change your perspective. Mark Twain said that "humor is tragedy plus time." Some situations will have us laughing about them a week or month or year down the road. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to laugh about a situation now instead of waiting until down the road. We can do this by taking a step back and changing our perspective.
- Make time for friends that you enjoy laughing with. I hope you have a friend or two that really makes you laugh. If so, give them a call or set up a get together. I know you may not feel like it if you are sick and only have so many spoons, but I think you will find that your spoons will be replenished by the fellowship you have with them.
- Find funny books to read or funny movies to watch. Sometimes you need a good laugh but you don't have anything to laugh about. Find your favorite comedies and get to laughing. My sisters and I enjoy turning on youtube and watching news bloopers or something similar. Always good for a laugh!
Mark Twain also said, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” There is a reason God created humor. Finding cheer and laughter in the everyday circumstances is so much better for our bodies and minds than allowing stressful circumstances to get the best of us. And when we are so run down that we feel like we don't have the strength or will power to even try there is one other thing to keep in mind. The Bible says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." God's joy can give us strength. It doesn't say his joy makes me happy. It says it will give us strength. Which is what we truly need to make it through hard days. Isn't that amazing? God knows. He created laughter. And I for one am so glad He did!
So what kinds of things make you laugh? Do you have suggestions for finding cheer even when the days are hard? We want to hear from you...