A few weeks ago we went with my family to our family cabin in Idaho. For one of the adventures we took the kids white water rafting in Jackson Hole. It was fantastic! On the way back to the cabin we stopped at Frosty Top to get some ice cream. We all ordered our ice cream or root beer floats and then sat outside and waited for it to be delivered. A teenage girl brought out all of our ice cream on a tray and as she reached across to hand someone their ice cream the trey slipped and she dumped an entire root beer float on the head of my eight-year-old daughter Andie.
Andie was literally drenched in root beer float but much to my surprise – she laughed!
We all laughed and although the waitress felt horrible – Andie’s laughter eased the tension and turned what could have easily been a horrible experience into a funny memory from our family trip.
That experience got me thinking about the power of laughter. So I started to study what laughter does and it doesn’t just make things enjoyable – laughter is one of the most important parts of life, health, perspective and leadership.
Here are 7 Powerful Things That Laughter Does to Make Life Better
- Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Laughter positively impacts health. The simple act of laughing boosts immunity, decreases pain, relaxes muscles, and improves mood.
- Humor makes friends. Humor strengthens relationships, attracts others to us, enhances teamwork and promotes group bonding.
- Humor can ease embarrassing situations. We all get embarrassed at times but being able to laugh at ourselves eases embarrassment and allow us to move forward.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Learning to find humor in any situation is a skill set and as you can see from the benefits listed above it is a crucial skillset to develop.
Abraham Lincoln struggled with bouts of depression and used humor as therapy. His ability to laugh at himself was revealed during a political debate in which his opponent called him “two-faced.” Lincoln replied, “I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?”
Good humor truly is medicine to the soul. Humor can ease tension, relieve uncomfortable or embarrassing situations, change attitudes, generate love and understanding, and add sparkle to life.
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