A simple way to have a happier, healthier life is to laugh more.
Laughter is a physiological response that involves rhythmic and involuntary action, and denotes merriment, happiness, or joy. Over the past several years countless studies have been conducted that show the positive effects that laughing has on one’s physical and mental health.
- Laughter causes you to gulp in large portions of air, thereby oxygenating your blood.
- Laughter decreases stress hormones in the body such as cortisol and adrenaline, thus helping to stave off illness.
- Laughter strengthens the immune system.
- When we laugh our bodies release hormones and chemicals that have positive effects on our system. One of these chemicals is endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
- One minute of laughing burns the same number of calories as 6 to 10 minutes on a treadmill.
- Laughing raises your mood; joyfulness through laughter is the fastest way to create a positive state of mind.
- Laughing is good for the heart and improves blood circulation.
- Laughter can reduce pain and aid the healing process.
- Laughter creates and strengthens human connections.
- It feels good to laugh.
Are you ready to laugh more? Below you’ll find 22 ways to bring more laughter into your life.
22 Ways to Laugh More
1. Set the Intent to Laugh More. Make a resolution, or set the intent, of laughing heartily as often as you can. Setting a goal to laugh more is as important as setting the goals to get more exercise, eat healthier, and drink more water.
Tell yourself: “I resolve to laugh more”.
2. Include Laughter in Your Morning Routine. Many of us have a routine that we follow every morning to help set us up to have a great day. How about adding laughter to your morning routine?
One way you can do this is bygetting a year-in-a-box calendar that will give you a quick laugh when you glance at the joke for the day. Choose a year-in-a-box calendar that tickles your fancy and put it right next to your alarm clock.
Another idea is to get yourself a joke book and read one joke every morning.
3. Smile More. Yes, I know: smiling is not laughing. However, smiling also has a myriad of benefits. When you smile, happy changes begin to take place automatically, both internally and externally. In addition, you can think of smiling as a warm up for laughing.
One way to remember to smile more is to have smiling cues sprinkled throughout your day. There are a number of ways to do this, including getting yourself a coffee mug that makes you smile. That way, every time you get yourself a cup of coffee you’re reminded to smile.
Here are three more cues you can use to remember to smile:
- Smile as you step into the shower.
- Smile every time you’re about to enter your home.
- Smile every time you open the refrigerator.
4. Read the Funnies. If you’re one of those people who still reads the newspaper offline—like me—don’t skip the funnies. After reading about everything that’s going wrong in the world, a little levity will do you good.
5. Befriend a Funny Person. Some people are just naturally funny. They may have a way with words, or they may have a wacky way of looking at the world. These people are gems. If you find one, befriend them immediately.
6. Have a Favorite Comedian. There are lots of great comedians out there, but almost everyone knows of at least one comedian who really appeals to their own particular sense of humor. Choose your favorite comedian and look for some of their comedy routines on YouTube.
If you’re wondering who my favorite comedian is, it’s George Carlin (1937 – 2008). I love his dry, sarcastic humor. Here are three of his most memorable lines:
- “In most polls there are always about 5 percent of the people who ‘don’t know.’ What isn’t generally understood is that it’s the same people in every poll.”
- “Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?”
- “I have six locks on my door, all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three of them.”
7. Follow a Funny Sitcom. Although I advocate watching less TV so that you have more time to read—or work on projects that are important to you—I’m not one of those people who argue that you shouldn’t watch any TV. Just make sure that you’re watching shows that you really enjoy.
Specifically, limit your TV viewing to shows that make you think, and shows that make you laugh. Here are two shows that make me laugh:
- The Big Bang Theory
- Parks and Recreation
8. Have More Fun on Date Night. Keep your relationship strong by laughing more with your partner. On date night, go to a comedy club. If you want to stay in, make some popcorn and watch a funny movie. Here are two funny movies I would definitely recommend:
- Burn After Reading, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and John Malkovich.
- The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton.
9. Read a Funny Book. I often recommend that you read the classics, but you should also read books just because they’re funny. A genuinely funny book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Here are two funny books you can get started with:
- Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, which is a war comedy.
- Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a science fiction comedy.
10. Find a Little Kid You Can Hang Out With. Little kids haven’t forgotten how to laugh yet. They’ll laugh at just about anything, and there are few things more infectious than a little kid’s laugh.
11. Get a Pet. More specifically, get a dog. Dogs make us laugh because. . . well, just look:
12. Play Fun Games With Friends. Playing competitive party-style games with a group of friends you enjoy hanging out with will have you laughing in no time. There are lots of games you can choose from, including the following:
Just set up the game, put out some guacamole and chips, and get ready to laugh ’till it hurts.
13. Learn to Laugh at Yourself. Most of us take ourselves too seriously, which limits our ability to find the humor in difficult situations. In addition, it can make us uptight and overly sensitive to what other people may be thinking of us.
Learning to laugh at yourself takes some of the pressure off, and it will allow you to be more authentic and vulnerable (both of which are desirable character traits). Here are two ways learn how to laugh at yourself:
- Give yourself permission to be silly. At the right moment, being silly is a plus.
- Look for the funny side of things. When you’re upset over something, ask yourself: “How is this situation funny”? Humor is a great way to deal with adversity and can even turn a negative into a positive.
14. Take Up Something New. When you try something new–whether it’s to draw, perform a karate kick, or learn to roller blade— your initial attempts will likely be clumsy and even ridiculous. That is, funny.
And, since in the point above you learned how to laugh at yourself, taking up something new is very likely to result in lots of laughs.
15. Have a Favorite Comic Strip. My favorite carton strip of all time is Calvin & Hobbes. I have all of Bill Waterson’s Calvin & Hobbes books. When I need a pick-me up I grab the pile of books, sprawl out on my bed, and look through them.
In a short while I’m laughing, and soon after that I’m out of the funk I was in.
16. Start a Pinterest Board of Funny Stuff You Find Online. Before the site Squidoo went belly up, I had a Squidoo lens that I used to collect the funny stuff that I found online. This included YouTube videos, images, jokes, quotes, and so on.
Although Squidoo no longer exists, you can do something similar with Pinterest. Start a Pinterest board and every time you find something funny as you browse the web, pin it to your board.
Here’s one of the jokes that I had added to my Squidoo lens:
A police officer pulls over a driver and informs him that he has just won $5,000 in a safety competition, all because he is wearing his seat belt.
“What are you going to do with the prize money?” the officer asks.
The man responds, “I guess I’ll go to driving school and get my license.”
His wife says, “Officer, don’t listen to him. He’s a smart aleck when he’s drunk.”
The guy in the back seat pops up out from under the blanket and says, “I knew we wouldn’t get far in this stolen car.”
Just then a knock comes from the trunk and a voice calls out, “Are we over the border yet?”
17. Start a Scrapbook of Funny Things Your Family Members Say. Family members are a great source for funny comebacks and sayings. When my nephew, Diego, was about four or five years old, he put on an Indian Jones hat and pìcked up a lightsaber. He then announced that he was, “Indiana Jedi”. 🙂
Start a scrapbook to collect the funny things your family does and the things they say. This will make you more aware of their funny moments, which will make you appreciate them more.
18. Put Laughter Quotes Up On a Bulletin Board. Put up a bulletin board where you’ll be sure to see it often, and fill it with laughter quotes. Here are some to get you started:
- “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” — Mark Twain
- “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – e. e. cummings
- “If laughter cannot solve your problems, it will definitely dissolve your problems; so that you can think clearly what to do about them.” – Dr. Madan Kataria
19. Do More of What Makes You Laugh. When was the last time you had a really good laugh? What were you Doing? Do more of that.
20. Follow Funny People on Twitter. Follow two or three funny accounts on Twitter so you get a few laughs as you see the tweets go by on your stream. One funny account I follow is @itsWillyFerrell. Here’s a tweet from him I found hilarious:
21. Start a Joke Jar. Get your whole family to laugh more by starting a joke jar. Do the following:
- Get a nice jar and some scraps of papers.
- Find some funny jokes and write them down on the scraps of paper. Ask your family members to do the same.
- Put the scraps of paper with the jokes written on them in the jar.
- At dinner time have someone reach into the jar, take out a joke, and read it out loud.
Here are some family-friendly jokes to get you started (they’re Easter oriented since it’s almost Easter):
- Q: What do you call a rabbit with fleas? A: Bugs Bunny!
- Q: Why shouldn’t you tell an Easter egg a joke? A: It might crack up!
- Q: What kind of book does a rabbit like at bedtime? A: One with a “hoppy” ending.
22. Try Laughter Meditation. As I wrote in my post on how to meditate, there are many different meditation practices you can try. One of these is laughter meditation. Do the following:
- Find a comfortable place to sit.
- Bring your attention to your breath and release all tension from your body.
- Bring up an image of something you find really funny. Once you have the feeling of laughter, spread it throughout your body, from the top of your head, to the tip of your toes.
- Bring up another image that makes you laugh. Continue spreading the feeling of laughter throughout your body.
I hope this post made you laugh! After all, laughter is the best medicine. Live your best life by laughing more. Get started with the 22 tips above.