We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but that’s not literally true. Obviously laughter can’t compete with vaccines or chemotherapy when it comes to medical treatment. But it turns out that laughter is pretty good for you — whether you’re sick or not. So here are five ways to laugh more every day.
Is laughter really the best medicine?
While “laughter is the best medicine” may be a folksy idiom, laughter is undeniably beneficial. Laughter increases your oxygen intake, which is good for just about every part of the body. It can even increase your pain tolerance, which can help lower your perceived level of chronic pain.
On top of that, laughter is good for mental health, fighting stress, and may boost the function of your immune system. And the best part of laughter? There’s no downside to adding it to your life. Here’s how to inject a little humour into your every day.
1. Spend time with funny people
If you don’t have a resident comedian in your household at the moment, there are a few other ways to go outside of your bubble for a laugh. Book a regular phone call or video chat with your funniest friend. Start a group chat where no-holds-barred humour is encouraged. While we may not know our favourite podcasters personally, they certainly feel like friends when we listen to their silly tales in the comfort of our living rooms.
2. Have a child explain stuff to you
There’s a reason “Kids Say The Darndest Things” was a hit in multiple countries. Asking a preschooler to explain something to you — how a bicycle works, what their parents do for a living, basically anything — is entertaining and hilarious. So whether you have your own child or get the chance to prattle with a young family member, try tapping into the natural humour of toddlers. They’re pretty much guaranteed to keep you in stitches.
3. Take humour breaks throughout the day
Give doom scrolling a rest and consume something funny instead. Whether it’s visiting The Oatmeal once a day, or watching your favourite comedian’s Netflix special, make a purposeful point of seeking out some funny content. The news can get pretty grim, and reading the same negative stuff over and over can send you into a spiral. Let Eddie Murphy or Amy Schumer clear out some of those mental cobwebs.
4. Follow someone funny on social media
Whether you’re a lawyer, a millennial, or a sleep-deprived parent, there’s a funny Twitter or Instagram account out there that understands your struggle. Consuming social media excessively can fuel depression and negative self-image. However, new research suggests that mindful social media use can be beneficial, as long as we don’t take it too seriously. So find an account that makes you laugh and check in whenever you need a little pick-me-up.
5. Think about laughing
A small study shows that paralyzing your frowning muscles with Botox might actually make you happier — and even combat depression. It turns out that your brain doesn’t differentiate between what your face is doing and how you feel. A resting grumpy face actually makes your brain feel upset, even if nothing is necessarily going wrong. So take a minute to remember the last thing that made you laugh, and you might feel a corresponding boost in your mood.
You could even try your hand at keeping a laughter journal to jot down anything humorous you encounter in your day. Alternatively, focus on making other people laugh. Does doing a funny voice for your dog make your partner giggle uncontrollably? Few things are more rewarding than coaxing a chuckle out of someone else. And it turns out that we instinctively mirror the expressions of others. So go ahead and try to elicit a smile or a chuckle from someone else. You’ll likely find that what you give out comes back to you in spades.