After many years of real life research, scientific study, and pop culture I devised a 10 step plan to live healthy, happy, and fit. When I went back over my grand plan, I realized one glaring hole: laughter. What would life be without those crazy times when you laughed to the point of tears or when you laughed so hard your cheeks hurt? I remember my brother laughing so much he would loose his breath and we would have to try to make sure he didn’t suffocate. That seems a bit crazy now, but that laughter goes a long way.

The benefits of a good laugh:

Laughter relaxes you. It’s true, a few laughs can lighten the mood and decrease your stress levels. Laughter also boosts your immune system, protects your heart and may even help you live longer! We know that holding grudges is a detriment to your health, conversely a good sense of humor and the ability to let things go will help you enjoy a long full life.

Stress is a contributing factor to all the major lifestyle diseases including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. One thing you can do to decrease your stress is lighten up and laugh a little. This all makes me think about the term enlightenment.

In the Eastern world and Buddhism, to become enlightened means to have a complete knowing and understanding of all things. It also means to have a deep sense of inner peace within yourself. If you simply take the word enlighten it means to become lighter.

5 ways to add some laughter into your life:

Watch funny YouTube videos, late night comedy shows, or stand up performances. In our political climate and age of division, sometimes it’s the best way to handle the latest news.

Hang around with children. Yesterday at a July 4th party I met a boy who had a toy gun and he was shooting imaginary bad guys in a tree. That might sound crazy to you, but to him it’s real and it’s fun to let yourself go with your imagination.

Be silly & self-deprecating. Find ways to make fun of yourself. This was one of the toughest things for me to do for a very long time, but I finally realized life is too short to be serious. Now I love to have fun, make fun of myself, and just be goofy.

Recover your innocence. While hanging around those kids, make sure you do things that make you feel like a kid again. We didn’t have a care in the world as young whipper snappers and as we grew, we took on responsibility and we got serious. I’m here to tell you that you can handle your responsibilities and still have a good time.

Smile. Go ahead do it, take the ends of your lips and point them up. It makes you feel better doesn’t it? I know it’s simple, but that’s really all it takes to improve your mood. I recommend you do it multiple times every day.

So in your quest to live a healthier life, make sure you make some time to crack that smile and remember what Wavy Gravy said, “It’s just not funny if you don’t have a sense of humor.” Get out there and enjoy your day.

Originally published on the author’s website

Previously published on