When I was about five-years-old my mom made me a pair of pajamas with a waistband that was too big. I strutted around the kitchen table at breakfast modeling them for my father and brothers until they fell down around my ankles. In that moment I learned the high of making people I love laugh. Naturally, I had to repeat it, pulling my pajamas up and letting them fall down, until I wore out the effect, and my mother made me stop. But it was done. I was a certifiable goofball and proud of it.
Humor is an elixir with the power to break tension and soothe what ails, if only temporarily enough to keep us buoyed and balanced, especially in these hard times. And hard times they are. Heightened environmental and socio-political ills coupled with whatever we may be carrying personally provide a seedbed for anxiety, pain and stress making us more susceptible to illness.
Laughter releases endorphins, the opposite of anger, fear and panic, which release adrenaline. It boosts our immune systems, protects our hearts, and burns calories, among many other things. It’s also a great leveler and can be the magic gateway to ending a stalemate when other means fail. Laughter is a master matchmaker, fostering likely and unlikely alliances. Click here for more benefits of laughing.
You might think you can’t manufacture laughter but not so. In 1995, Dr. Madan Katari founded laughter yoga theorizing that the body doesn’t know the difference between fake and real laughter and it experiences benefits either way. Journalist, professor and peace advocate Norman Cousins famously treated his illnesses with laughter, vitamins and diet.
So, seek it wherever you can find it–through friends and family, funny movies and books, comedy clubs and shows, whatever works. There is nothing to lose in trying to be a little lighter, because there simply can’t be too much light right now. Me? I may have to buy some new pajamas and invite some friends over for breakfast.