Humor an Important Key to Happiness
I forgot what a wonderful tool humor is for happiness.
Recently, I was hired to write funny articles about menopause. When you’ve been writing professionally for over 20 years, sometimes you’re forced to take on jobs that absolutely suck the creativity out of you just to make ends meet.
However, as I’ve gotten older and more experienced, I have the luxury of being a bit more selective about my clients and work. I immediately connected with my new client. Being about the same age and menopausal, we had a lot in common. But besides that, she just sounded like a lot of fun. A hoot. So I agreed to blog for her new site, albeit with a little bit of trepidation, since I haven’t done a lot of humorous writing before. But hey, if something scares you a little, that probably means you should give it a shot.
Guess what? I’m having a blast. I’m giggling all day thinking about various subjects to tackle and cracking myself up as I write the pieces.
Although I know researchers are learning more and more about humor’s positive effects on our health and well-being, I wasn’t really making much of an effort to bring laughter and humor into my life. That was a mistake.
Just consider a few of the benefits. Laughter actually produces changes in the biochemistry of our brain and hormone system. That means having a sense of humor can improve our immune system, help dissolve stress, and increase our relaxation response. In fact, a good laugh can relax our muscles for up to 45 minutes after we’ve finished chuckling. There’s an increase in dopamine – the pleasure center of our brain – and on top of that, laughter produces endorphin, feel-good chemicals that can even temporarily reduce pain. Another advantage for us boomers is that telling jokes can help improve our memories and, as I’m discovering, increase our creativity.
Laughter can also help lighten our burdens. If we can find a way to be amused about a stressful situation, humor will force us to take a step back and observe, to change our perspective, and provide a little distance and relief from our problems. Laughing helps us not to take ourselves so seriously, to let go of resentments, and be less defensive. Not only does humor give us a break from pain and frustration but it can also give us courage, strength, and resilience.
Another great thing is that humor can strengthen our relationships with spouses, children, family members, friends, and co-workers. Sharing laughs with others builds a positive bond, helps us let go of our inhibitions, and fosters a deeper emotional connection. Laughter unites us with our loved ones during difficult times.
Let’s face it, giggling just makes us feel better. Best of all, laughter is fun and absolutely free. You don’t even have to laugh at loud. Even being quietly amused or smiling can bring on some of these wonderful benefits.
The thing is, I used to be funny (at least I think I was) but I’ve gotten WAY to serious lately. So how can we incorporate more laughter and humor in our lives? Stay tuned for my next blog and I’ll share some ideas with you.
Spot on, Julie! My mom always says laughter is good for the liver, and I think she’s right! Laughing and sharing good times with the people we love is what keeps us going even during the tough times. I actually feel younger and measurably happier after a good laugh with someone I care about.
Me too. As my husband, Scott’s favorite singer, Jimmy Buffet, says in the song, “Changes in Latitude:”
“It’s those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”
Humor is tonic – – the best remedy for all frustrating situations. Never go anywhere without it.
You said it! As William Arthur Ward said, “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”