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December Self-Care Challenge Day 21: Laughter

Today let’s focus on doing something that makes you laugh so hard your sides hurt!

On day 17 we talked about letting your inner child free. In there is stated the following….

What made you laugh as a child? Perhaps it was a tickle fight with your best friend or sibling or telling silly jokes to each other so badly that you laughed so hard you couldn’t go on. Perhaps it was watching a silly movie or cartoon.

Today tickle that funny bone again. Tell all the bad mom and dad jokes you’ve been storing up in that brain of yours to a friend. Rewatch those cartoons from when you were a kid, like Duck Tales, or Scooby-Doo. Or have an impromptu tickle fight with a friend or a loved one. Let go and laugh my friends.

Over the years there have been many studies done about the benefits of laughter. I wanted to go over a few of the short and long term benefits with you here.

Short Term benefits.

Laughter is a stress reliever. A good laugh will cool down that stress response and decrease your heart rate (after a few minutes) and by doing so it releases those feel-good endorphins in your brain that promote good cheer and activates problem solving!

Soothes those muscle aches. Stress leads to muscle tension and laughter will release those tense muscles. Uhhh that doesn’t make sense you might think, because your belly hurts and your sides ache, but after a few moments the release comes, and you will feel more relaxed and energized because blood is flowing freely to those muscles again.

It stimulates your organs. Yes, you read that right. Laughter actually helps increase your intake of air which in turn stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles. Not to mentions the endorphins that are released in your brain!

Long Term Benefits

Improves your immune system. Negative thoughts can actually decrease your body’s ability to fight of things like the common cold or as we just discussed muscle cramps. Laughter, and positive thoughts, can actually release neuropeptides that help your body fight the stress hormones and increase your body’s defenses.

Pain relief. Laughter can be a natural pain reliever. Through the act of laughing, you increase your blood flow to your muscles and organs and thus relieving some aches and pains that you may be experiencing.

Improve your mood. Over time, with laughter being incorporated into your self-care practice, your mood will improve, and the negative thought patterns will decrease. Yes, it is true, laughter has the power to improve your overall mental health.

Life Satisfaction. I’m not going to say that laughter will bring fulfillment into your life, however, I will not that laughter makes it easier to cope when the difficult times arise. Add to that laughter is a natural human connector, it builds rapport with others quicker that the sharing of difficult situations and past traumas.

Okay so I’ve given you the invite to laugh today, and I’ve also told you the benefits of doing so, but what if you’re a little stuck and don’t know how to go about accomplishing a laughing moment? What if life seems a little to down at the moment? Here’s a few tips I like to incorporate.

Be intentional. Each morning I like to seek out my favorite cartoons on the internet, here’s a link to one site that I frequent. I also follow a few comedians on YouTube, and when I am feeling down or stuck in a problem, I actually go an find these people and take a moment to let them bring the laughter out of me, and lighten my mood. By doing so I feel refreshed, energized and ready to go back a tackle that difficult situation or problem.

Share a laugh. The best moments of laughter have been either with my husband (he cracks me up every day)! Or with my family. Jeremy, my husband, is a radio host and is a natural at finding humor in even the darkest moments, so when I need cheering up, I turn to him, and he always has a quip to get my lips quivering and the laughter pouring out. Likewise, my family is hilarious! We have a family text chat that we check in on each other everyday and we like to post silly pictures of the grandkids and pups that always has me laughing and giggling. Try creating something similar with the ones you love.

Knock knock. I mentioned at the beginning of the post that perhaps sharing those awful knock knock jokes you’ve been storing up in the brain of yours is a good option. If you don’t have any, may I suggest investing in a good (or bad depending on your point of view) knock knock joke books. They always get a good laugh.

Be Respectful. Know what is and is not funny. Don’t make light of or laugh at another’s expense. It just brings the mood down, and honestly no one likes a bully.

So, give it a try today my friends! Find the humor in moments throughout the day, or create them!

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