Today’s topic is all about humor! I think sometimes we get so caught up in the ins & outs of life…or so caught up in trying to improve ourselves that we forget to have a sense of humor. When that happens, life in general & self-improvement can feel heavy, hard, & tedious…but that’s the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve! It’s good to take a step back & find the humor in ourselves & in every day life. I love today’s quote because it shows how a sense of humor is not just “nice to have”, but it is also extremely powerful! A little bit of humor can go a long way in helping us enjoy life more, both mentally & physically.
One of the beautiful things about life is that we get to choose how we react to any situation. The exact same situation could happen to two different people & one person will laugh about it & another will experience an entire range of negative emotions. One of my favorite talks on this subject was given by Joseph B. Wirthlin called, “Come What May & Love It”. I wanted to share a part of that talk with you today…
Learn to Laugh
The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?
There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.
I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.
Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us.
I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.
We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now, I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.
The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.
So how does humor help your thoughts? There’s actually quite a bit of research on this topic. The following info is from HelpGuide.org. This is a wonderful non-profit site dedicated to the topic of mental health & well-being. They have a ton more info on the benefits of humor & laughter. If you’d like to learn even more, I encourage you to check them out!
The link between laughter and mental health…
- Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Laughter is also good for your health…
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” ~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
We’ll talk more about humor later on in this challenge, but for now I’ll leave you with a couple of videos that I hope will bring some humor into your life today…