April is National Humor Month. I believe it could transform the world if we all immersed our lives in humor and laughter for the entire month of April. A good dose of humor and laughter might melt our political, social, and economic stress away. It is physiologically impossible to experience laughter and stress simultaneously.
Barbara Bush has been quoted quite a bit since her death. She always talked about laughter and a sense of humor being the key ingredient to the intimacy, happiness, and love of their 73-year marriage. I have been married 43 years and can attest to the fact that laughter and humor have been the glue and the source of pure joy in our journey together.
Over the years, research has shown us that there are health benefits to humor and laughter. Some of the benefits include:
- Immune boost. You get an immune boost when you laugh and that helps prevent disease.
- Improved heart health. Laughter increases the blood flow to your heart. This helps prevent heart disease.
- Relaxation. Your muscles are relaxed for 30 to 45 minutes after you laugh.
- Fun exercise. When you laugh you are exercising your face, lungs, chest muscles, diaphragm, abdomen, and many other parts of your body. Your body loves this exercise!
- Lowered stress levels. Laughter reduces the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, you produce. You experience less stress.
- Strengthened relationships. You are more open, spontaneous, and honest when you laugh. Laughter creates a bonding and trust with others in your life.
- Longevity. Some studies show that people who have a good sense of humor and laugh actually live longer.
Invite humor and laughter into your life today with the following tips.
- Smile. Smiling can be a health and spiritual practice. Many spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu smile as a spiritual practice of kindness and as an invitation to others. When you smile, others mirror your smile.
- Playfulness. Start being more playful. Don’t take yourself or your life too seriously. Playful people are people we all want to be around at home and work. There is a wonderful fluid energy to playfulness. George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
- Animals. Play with your animals regularly. They will love it and so will you. There are also health benefits to playing and being with animals.
- #LOL. Watch trending, funny videos online.
- Television/video shows. Watch comedies like Seinfeld, Modern Family, or other shows that make you laugh.
- Games. Play games with family, friends, or coworkers. Playing games with others has great health benefits and will create a sense of humor and laughter.