When is the last time you laughed so much you found it hard to speak? Eyes watering, full body kind of laughter? The connection felt with others when sharing a funny experience or moment is like no other. I talk often with clients and those in my personal life about the impact of humor and having fun (however we define fun) on mental health and our overall quality of life.
The act of smiling in and of itself has a biological link to mood and happiness. Even the act of forcing a smile can ‘trick’ the brain and body into releasing endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin-all of which are associated with reduced stress and lifting the mood. Smiling and laughing often have also been found to positively impact the immune system. It may sound silly, but intentionally adding more smiles and laughter into your day can make the world of a difference in how you are feeling overall.
I love that humor, comedy, and overall lightheartedness can be an individual experience as well as one that brings us together with others. Think about what happens if you smile at someone in public or watch a loved one laugh about something; for some reason we tend to mirror those behaviors without thinking much about it. It is a beautiful thing to think about the ripple effect of smiling and lifting the moods of those around us.
Our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are all linked together in a big way. Intentionally choosing a humorous, lighthearted approach in the way we view situations or interact with others can directly impact the behaviors we put out into the world as well as our overall internal thoughts and feelings. Think about how your perspective of things or reactions change depending on the way you look at the situation. Or, if someone you care about can help you crack a smile during a hard day. Laughter truly goes a long way. Of course, this does not mean we need to laugh at everything or not take difficult feelings or experiences seriously. What I mean is to let big feelings in and cope accordingly, but also leave space in your life to have fun, unleash your inner child, and laugh often. If anything, increasing humor and fun will only increase our tolerance for difficult situations because we are fueling ourselves with joy and positive experiences.
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