The Well

Laugh Out Loud

by Andrew Shaw on Aug.28, 2010, under Recent Posts

When’s the last time you laughed really hard?  I’m talking the uninhibited, laugh-out-loud, knee-slapping, eyes-watering, gasping-for-air, laughing.  I had a couple instances this past week where I just got rolling, once at home with a group of friends and the other today with several coworkers.  And boy did it feel great!  It felt like my whole body was smiling and laughing.  During these spells of laughter, and for quite awhile afterwards, I felt such a lightness, a sense of enjoyment and happiness.

Research has been showing what we already know, laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, depression, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor energizes, lightens your burdens, connects you to others, and makes you feel joyful and alive.

Laughter is a natural, innate part of life. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born.  If you’ve drifted away from your childlike playfulness, if it has been awhile since you’ve really let go into unbridled laughter, or if you’ve misplaced your smile, here are some ideas to get you back on the laughing track.

Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, just as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you may be able to incorporate humor and laughter into your daily life.

  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious.  When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.  Practice smiling for no reason at all many times during the day and see how it affects your mood.  It’s hard to feel down or grumpy when you’ve got a smile on your face.
  • Count your blessings. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Create opportunities to laugh. Watch a funny movie or TV show. Go to a comedy club. Read the funny pages. Seek out funny people. Share a good joke or a funny story. Host game night with friends. Go to a “laughter yoga” class. Spend time with children. Do something silly. Make time for fun, light-hearted activities.


Happy Laughing.  Be Well.

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