I caught myself laughing out loud the other day. And I noticed it. Cathartic cackling. When I became aware of it, my brain opened up with another awareness. I don’t laugh out loud enough! Nor do I share it with others enough. I love to stay in our sunny condo and just be.
I know I am more serious than most folks who know me think. Still, all work and no play makes Judy a dull gal. Even if I do enjoy being alone for the most part, recent research reveals my lifestyle is not the healthiest option for well-being. I need to laugh more and get out of my work zone more. I am short-changing myself, and I need to jack up my humor strength.
I decided to do some enlightening research on laughter.
Maybe you are curious, too.
What is laughter? Why is it so important?
American neuroscientist Robert Provine in his book, “Laughter: A Scientific Investigation,” defines, “Laughter is the quintessential human social signal. Laughter is about relationships.” It is our “animal call signal.” He reminds also laughter is more than just jokes and funny. It is bonding together and enjoying our humanity.
Additionally, note this fascinating, blow-your-socks-off, research statistic: We are 30 times more likely to laugh when we are with people than when we are alone. Renowned positive psychology researcher Chris Peterson said, “There are no happy hermits.” Good one! I had never realized laughter evolved because of its effect on others.
The added health benefit of engaging with others in laughter is a huge plus. Laughter is about discovery between ourselves. Mimicking and sharing and exploring our world with no boundaries. Foibles and frolicing together. Caring and sharing the fun. Laughter is powerful. It is primal, social, psychological, and biological. Science now proves it. In a nutshell, it is complex and cool. It is a uncensored jaunt into all our relationships.
We also know tickling is a unique form of tactile communication fun. Have you ever seen the chimp videos? Chimps take turns tickling each other, showing their teeth with raucous fun.
Did you know women laugh more at men? And public speakers laugh more than their audience? How interesting.
Remember most comedians have a dark side and/or suffer from depression. Their laughter and ours at them is their positivity potion.
Povine further enlightens “Laughter is the social glue that draws group members into the fold.” And here you thought parties were to entertain others. They are, but now we know you are adding to their well-being and to your health to boot!
Did you know these laughter/humor research findings?:
1. The more you laugh at work the happier and more productive you are.
“Keep your nose to the grindstone” may leave you with a cut off nose! And no creative energy, either!
2. The more you laugh, the more others around you laugh.
Then you and your team will both get more accomplished. A work win-win.
3. More laughter = more creativity.
Stress decreases ingenuity, originality, flexibility, and fluency. Laughter infuses ingenuity into your brainpower.
4. Less email and more face-to-face chatting helps you work better and feel more connected.
Remember positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson’s research on micro- moments of love. Not steamy love (not that that isn’t lovely!) but everyday look you in the face and smile “love”. Doing this smiling look for a few focused seconds adds to your overall well-being. It also adds positive connection with the other person as well as the world. (Her “Love 2.0” book is terrific!). It upward spirals your well-being.
5. Laughter helps you ward off illness and even helps you recover from diseases.
Remember Norman Mailer’s research decades ago that cancer patients who watched comedy shows on TV and laughed got better faster and lived longer?
6. Laughter is a subconscious social signal you are in a state of physical and emotional relaxation.
Heart-felt laughter adds to your overall peace and wellness and invites others to feel the same way.
7. We feel safer in life when we laugh.
8. Laughter helps relieve anxiety and stress, and it decreases negative rumination, too.
9. The more you laugh together with friends or your work team, the greater your social bonds become.
Positive relationships are necessary for meaning, happiness, and engagement.
10. Puzzle-solving becomes easier after you have laughed.
If a difficult task awaits you, boost your energy via sharing laughter with another before you tackle it.
11. Forget rigid concentration. Laugh instead.
Your loss of focus when you laugh allows your mind to more easily shift and to connect concepts better. (I REALLY needed this one!)
12. Work groups who allow themselves to laugh together in real time have 30-40% greater production.
Business owner need to recognize laughter is a key to their bottom-line success!
Are you ready to launch your new laughter happy habit?
Laugh researcher Provine enlightens you to develop a readiness to let yourself go. A “laugh-ready attitude.” Here are some of his, others’ and my own suggestions:
1. Be mindfully aware of your humor character strength strength.
Also, harness more of your curiosity strength. These two strengths may be your GPS to more laughter success along your life’s joyful journey.
2. No matter where it is on your Values in Action Survey (VIA), you can strengthen it if you practice and have a relaxed, open-minded focus.
3. Watch a sitcom with a friend.
Take a break at work and laugh with a buddy. Watch a short comedy skit. Laugh at cartoons. Read jokes. Anything that adds a punch of playfulness to your day. Try this for a week. Notice your humor meter is moved up a notch. Remember what Appreciative Inquiry teaches, “What you focus on grows.” It also upward spirals your overall positivity.4. Add social events to your calendar. Laughing together enhances your fun and ratchets up your life satisfaction.
5. Buy yourself a new toy.
Play adds to your health and fun. Not necessarily a new Masarati, though what a fun dream. I mean something you can play with at your desk. Sharing it adds more healthy bang for your buck. Share new toy or game with your kids or grand kids. Savor the laughter. Paint ball is dynamic fun. Or perhaps who can have a funniest Lego critter contest. There are no limits to laughter. My grand kids laugh when I try to do the Hoola Hoop. Works every time! :Who can decorate the funniest cookie?” is also a favorite. Then eat them and get food coloring all over your face! Try some Silly Putty creations. Or Silly String antics. But please, put down some newspaper first! That cool Silly String stuff is a bite to tear off.
6. Join a Laughter Club.
Yup, they have them. Google and see where you can find them all over the world. Even Try Yoga and laughter travel clubs. Or laughter meditation. Who knew?
7. Have more exploration fun.
Google these kinds of laughter: Holy laughter (holy smokes! :), operatic laughter, laugh records, laughing gas, laughter wellness groups, laughter practice groups, canned laughter, phone and Skype laughter calls, laughing epidemics,
Remember, laughter is serious business. Hey? Did I say that?! Laughter is your connection with your world. Your let ‘er rip relishing recreation…and it is good for you.How wonderfulscience proves it!
Share laughter with your whole family/group, too, on a regular basis. You might ask everyone to bring a joke to share at the dinner table. Or tell a story about something that happened to you that caused a giggle or a guffaw. Or laugh at a work project that had you all in stitches, remembering the laughter that blew your britches! Laughing together adds immensely to your overall well-being, productivity, longevity, and happiness.
Need to laugh more?
I love to coach folks who are motivated to inject more sparks and accomplishment in their lives. I will look forward to your call, email or message. Cheers!
Is that you I see smiling?
Hope you enjoy this quote as much as I do: “At the heights of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” Jean Houston.
Cheering on your frivolous fun flow,
P.S. I found this laughter site I think you might love: https://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/120-quotes-laughter-throughout-history/ A university for laughter. Now that make me laugh!