In a recent TEDx Talk, screenwriter Anthony McCarten talks about the scientific benefits of laughter: the mood-boosting, life-enhancing effects that a moment of levity can add to your day. And it’s true that laughter really is good medicine. It has been shown to help reduce stress, beat negative self-talk, and activate the happiness-inducing regions in our brains.
We asked our Thrive community to share the small ways they seek out laughter in their lives, and how it enhances their well-being. Which of these will you try to boost your mood today?
Spend time with a funny friend
“There is one friend I always turn to when I need a laugh. We share a unique sense of humor that only takes a brief glance at each other to understand. On a recent trip we took together, there were countless occasions where I would turn to her and say, ‘My belly hurts from laughing so much.’ It literally did. We can be laughing at absolutely anything, from our favorite memories to spontaneous fits of laughter.”
—Belinda Meyers, freelance writer, Melbourne, Australia
Try something new with your partner
“My husband and I have started taking a martial arts class together two times a week when our son is at school — and it always makes us laugh. As two busy entrepreneurs and parents, we’ve always said that we don’t have time for a hobby, but getting out of our comfort zone evokes so much laughter at trying something new.”
—Lisa Pezik, business strategist, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
Watch a scene from your favorite sitcom
“If I have 3-5 minutes, I find that watching a snippet of a Seinfeld or Portlandia scene online never fails to make me laugh. These short and funny clips help me remember that life isn’t so serious.”
—Christopher Michael, building specialist, Huntington Beach, CA
Look at the situation from a toddler’s eyes
“When times get stressful, I make sure to take a moment to think about how my one-year-old son would see something. Looking at the world from his perspective makes me smile every time. What really brings the laughter is that no matter what happens, Hunter will dance. That brings me a laugh every time!”
—Lindsey Benoit O’Connell, editor, New York, NY
Go to a comedy show
“I signed up to receive email specials and announcements from local comedy venues. It’s usually affordable if you snatch the specials — and it makes for a good, hilarious time.”
—Carolina Pichardo, editor, New York, NY
Tell little jokes
“I’ve been counseling consumers and brands about food and nutrition for many years, and my messages have always been laced with credibility, science, and a heaping side of humor. Laughter literally brings joy to any subject, and although my kids may fault me for having ‘mom jokes,’ the reality is that it makes them laugh. And isn’t that the best way to connect?”
—Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., nutrition influencer, New York, NY
Play children’s music
“I have my students play games as part of our training, and I make them do so to a children’s song. It makes my students laugh at the silliness of the activity and the song. They break a sweat, laugh, learn, and come back for more.”
—Fauzia Lala, self-defense instructor, Seattle, WA
Watch a comedy clip
“After a long or particularly frustrating day, it’s nice to decompress with laughter. Watching the latest posts on Ellen DeGeneres’ app ‘Ellentube’ is one way I’m guaranteed to laugh! I can relate to her sense of humor, and she’s constantly having a great time with her guests and audience. Even though I rarely have time to tune in to the entire show, a five-minute clip is all it takes to lift my spirits.”
—Kaleen Skersies, real estate development, Seattle, WA
Listen to stand-up with a loved one
“When my husband, Don, suffered a stroke, I thought we’d never laugh again. I remember someone telling me how important laughter was at the time. I decided to buy a CD of Robin Williams one night, and told Don I had a surprise for him. We listened together, and Williams was irreverent, crazy, ridiculous, and had us both laughing from start to finish. That evening, I saw for the first time how truly important laughter is.”
—Kathi Koll, caregiver advocate and author, Newport Beach, CA
Shift your perspective
“I don’t know where I would be without my sense of humor and ability to laugh. I make a habit of trying to see the humor in my experience. For example, if I’m frustrated in traffic, I imagine what I must look like from an outsider’s perspective, and it makes me chuckle. My mood instantly lightens for a moment, and quite often, that will start a chain reaction of other thoughts or memories that strike me as funny. If I think about the fact that I’m driving my car by myself, laughing out loud, then I might even get one of those really good belly laughs.”
—Elizabeth Bishop, educator and consultant, Vancouver, BC, Canada
How do you seek out laughter in your own life? Share your favorite ways with us in the comments!
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