Feeling depressed or even physically ill? The best course of action might be to search out a comedian on YouTube or Netflix.
Laughter has long been called the best medicine, and now medical research is showing it’s a valid statement. It releases endorphins that reduce stress and promote a feeling of well-being, may boost cancer-killing white bloods cells (according to a one study), relaxes tense muscles and even burns calories.
Laughter also has emotional benefits. It promotes bonding between friends and it can often diffuse tense, argument-inducing situations. It can even promote learning, since people tend to remember things better in the context of laughter.
So how do you get a prescription for some of this “medicine?” Here are six tips to increase your laughter dosage.
Seek out humorous people. As mentioned above, YouTube, Netflix and other sites on the internet provide a wide variety of shows put on by comedians. You’ll want to use discretion because some comedians use crude humor that can be offensive to some. Tim Hawkins, Chonda Pierce and Michael Jr. are examples of clean comedians or type “clean comedians” in YouTube’s search bar.
Read funny stories and jokes. Whether it’s a compilation of jokes or stories about humorous life situations, these can provide smiles and even laughter. Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegone stories or James Herriott’s tales about the life of a country veterinarian are examples of amusing tales.
Share with a friend. When you find something that helps you laugh, tell friends with a similar sense of humor. It can often be the boost they need. That’s why people say, “I really needed a good laugh today.”
Find the humor in situations. Life can be filled with frustrations, from traffic to work to raising a family. But almost all situations have some intrinsic humor or potential humor involved. And while your mind is trying to find the humor in the situation, it’s also thinking less about the frustrating part of the situation.
Take yourself less seriously. We all make mistakes but many can be quite humorous, like trying to dial a phone number on a calculator or using a word that doesn’t mean what you thought it did. They can turn into funny situations that have everyone laughing. You don’t want to come across as a moron, but don’t be afraid to share those funny little foibles that everyone can relate to.
Enjoy life. Get out and do things with friends and family. Hiking, bowling, dining in a restaurant, even chores, can create situations where laughter abounds. Whether it’s a wide grin or a full-on belly laugh, it puts your mind and body in a much better place.