We have all been through some tough challenges over the past three years due to the Covid pandemic. We have lost friends, family members, and co-workers. We have missed gatherings, weddings, graduations, church and all long standing traditions that kept our relationships strong and kept our stories intertwined. The stress and loss of our normal routines at times still feels overwhelming. We wonder if we will ever get back to “normal”. Well, finding some humor and experiencing laughter could be two simple ways to help recover from the battle scars left behind from the loss we have all experienced the last three years.
We have all heard the old cliche “laughter is the best medicine” (laughter is the physical response to humor) and research has proven that humor may help relieve stress, strengthen the immune system, boost mood, and help diminish pain.That being said, it is interesting to know the definition of humor…”Humor is the tendency of experience to provide laughter and provide amusement. The term is derived from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours control human health and emotion.
Research has proven that humor and laughter can increase relaxation due to the increase in oxygen levels. Intense laughter increases muscle tone (who hasn’t had sore abdominal muscles after a game night)? Laughter decreases cortisol levels (stress hormone), increases endorphins (the feel good hormone), decreases pain, improves mood and lessens anxiety. Along with health benefits, humor is also important in the workplace. Humor can help alleviate boredom, build a sense of involvement, build relationships and camaraderie among coworkers. Humor is found by researchers to help reduce stress in the workplace, help with negativity and allow for more positive emotions to surface.
Laughter and play can also play a role in creativity in the workplace. Humor can play a role in boosting morale and creating a better sense of well being. It can also help us to forgive more quickly.
Need some help finding ways to laugh more. Look for humor everywhere around you, ask a friend what they find is funny, laugh at typos. Ask yourself what you find funny, one of my favorites is “Awkward Family Photos” on the internet. Learn to laugh at yourself, tell your embarrassing moments to your friends and coworkers. Get a pet to laugh at their funny antics. Tell jokes and puns, learn to laugh out loud when you are alone. Have an older person, who will tell a story with no filter, share an experience that they find amusing.
There has been a lot of research regarding the benefits of humor and laughter with our families, friends and coworkers. Studies prove all the positive outcomes laughter has on our physical and mental health. There are several ways to incorporate humor into our lives: listen to stories, ask others what they find humorous and just laugh at ourselves...and just remember, a child’s laughter is the best thing you can hear…. unless it’s 3 am and you don’t have any children.