The Joy of Laughter

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing." -- Michael Pritchard

How often do you laugh?

The average 40-year-old laughs four times a day. Toddlers laugh over 100 times a day (Psychology Today).

We were born with the gift of laughter. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy. Laughter is a contagious emotion. It can bring people together. It can help us feel more alive and empowered. When you laugh, you transcend the physical aspects of your life and your troubles. One component of a happy life is having a humorous disposition -- a capacity to see the contradictions and absurdities of our lives, be willing to laugh at our mistakes or moments of embarrassment and not take ourselves too seriously.

I do appreciate the experience of shared laughter with others. When we laugh, we lighten up; we feel more positive and optimistic, more hopeful and engaged. We're friendlier, more resourceful, and more alive. Humorous stories shared with family and friends are a great way to bond with others, benefit your health and have a great time. I especially enjoy hearty laughs and look for opportunities to whatever the cause. These moments are truly healing. I make it a point to seek out lightness and laughter wherever and whenever I have an opportunity. This allows us to look at life a bit differently, put aside our problems and melodramas, and connect with life. It keeps us in the moment, where we can't be anxious about the future.

Laughter brings us back to ourselves and back to life. You can reconnect with your sense of humor all by yourself.

For example, it takes only a minute to read your favorite comic strip or political cartoon. These cartoons will turn your conventional wisdom and sacred cows upside down. Another way to find humor is to smile; even if, you're by yourself. Researchers have discovered that people who hold a pencil between their teeth in an artificial smile found funny videos funnier. (Laird, J Pers Soc Psychol).

Laughing together benefits both the giver and the receiver. Creating a situation that makes others laugh and smile lifts everyone's spirits. Smiling makes you more attractive. You share humorous stories or jokes you've found online, clip and share your favorite funny comic strips, share funny experiences from your life or plan to see a comedy. Also, finding ways to do opposite of what people normally expect keeps life from getting drab and dreary.

Ask your senior relatives to share memories especially those that have a good sense of humor. To get a story session going, you need only to ask questions about old times. Trust me, you will soon find yourself immersed in laughter.

Try starting your day with a daily dose of laughter. Have a Joke of Day sent to your inbox or browse YouTube for funny videos. So go for it, smile, laugh, stand tall, act lively. You will be glad you did. Life has enough seriousness. Learn from the little ones, seek out humor and laugh more. For, you will live more happily, manage adversity and have material to create joyous connections. In other words, get over your seriousness and connect with life.