When was the last time you had a good dose of laughter?

“Laughter is the best medicine”, especially now. Scrolling through social media, humor was interspersed leading up the election results. You may think of entertainment when it comes to laughter–your favorite sitcom, comedian, or personality that evokes and good belly laugh. However, laughter has many purposes besides entertainment. It is a great means of coping during difficult times by offering relief from stress.

Check out these awesome short and long-term benefits of laughter for stress-relief identified by the Mayo Clinic

Stimulates the organs (e.g. heart, lungs, muscles)
Increases the release of endorphins in your brain
Activates and provides relief to stress
Soothes tension
Improves your immune system
Relieves pain
Increases personal satisfaction
Improves your mood

Have you ever noticed during an overwhelmingly positive moment, laughing so hard that you cried? Or the opposite during times of pain, laughing when you want to cry? Laughing and crying both help release emotional energy. Medical news today reports show that laughing and crying releases oxytocin and endorphins. Oxytocin has been described as “the love hormone” and also known as “the empathy hormone” due to its role in bonding. It is interesting that we are naturally seeking out these moments with each other to socially bond–to feel some sort of connectedness even if it is through the computer screen or television.

Now more than ever we all need a good laugh. Here are my top 20 ideas to inject a little laughter. How many more can you come up with?

1. Watch something funny on TV
2. Listen to a humorous podcast
3. Reminisce about your favorite memories
4. Laugh with friends-laughter is infectious!
5. Have a fun impromptu activity
6. Watch a dog or cat
7. Keep a journal of gratitude/ fun moments
8. Look at funny auto-correct text messages
9. Listen to little children explain things from their perspective
10. Watch funny memes
11. Listen to a comedian
12. Be your own comedian
13. Create something funny to share with others
14. Laugh out loud
15. Share funny moments with others
16. Incorporate play at work
17. Embrace your inner child and do something silly
18. Watch people
19. Incorporate playful tease into your relationship
20. Share an inside joke

Written by Charlotte Johnson MA, LPCC 

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