Living Gently: A 30-Day Challenge: The Art of Laughter

A few weeks ago, I got a shocking text message from my son that said, “Mom, Robin Williams died.” Like millions around the world, I was stunned. In the days that followed, as details of his suicide emerged, millions wondered, “How could someone who created so much laughter ever be sad?” As I write this a few weeks later, the whole idea of Robin Williams’ death still seems inconceivable.

But no matter the circumstances of his death, the thing we can all agree upon is that he gave us the gift of laughter. Besides the obvious fact that laughing is fun, it also offers us so much respite and other benefits. I think Robin Williams would agree with Milton Berle who once said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Or, Charlie Chaplain who said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” When we can find opportunities for laughter, we improve our moods and our overall outlooks.

In our fast-paced, stress-filled lives, we often find ourselves too busy – sometimes even too busy to share a laugh with a friend! But how much more productive could we be if we remembered to find the joy in every situation? How much happier could we be? Is laughter really the best medicine?

There’s plenty of documented research that says “Yes, it is.”

How can you make sure you’re getting enough laughter in your day? No matter how busy we are, surely we can take a few moments to relieve some stress and tension through laughter! Normally, I give our readers a list of suggestions on how to incorporate the monthly topic into their lives, but this month, I’m going to make an exception. Humor isn’t that elusive! Opportunities to be entertained are all around us, and if nothing else, one can always Google “funny jokes” and 67 million options are only a click away. Instead, this month, let’s concentrate on some of the benefits you can enjoy from laughter:

  • It’s a great stress reliever. In fact, a good laugh can help relieve muscle tension for up to 45 minutes after the fact!
  • Physical benefits also include a decrease in pain and a boost to immunity!
  • It improves one’s mood.
  • Laughter strengthens relationships.
  • It builds teamwork and helps offset conflicts.
  • Laughing can increase creativity and problem-solving abilities.
  • Increased optimism and energy are side-effects of laughter.

Laughter is a gift. While on some days, laughter may be a bit harder to come by than others, it’s an opportunity we should seek every day. Whether it’s a private laugh we share with ourselves, or a joyous laugh we share in the company of friends, the magic of laughter is a balm for the soul. The late, great Robin Williams once said, “Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma.” May we remember these words in every situation and no matter what, find a way to laugh.

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