I love watching sitcoms. It’s the perfect recipe to end the day (that and a glass of red wine), especially if the day may not have gone so well.
Last week, when the kids were asleep, I got to my favorite spot on the couch to watch a show. I was craving a good laugh. Things had been pretty busy lately, to say the least.
As I was watching the show and feeling more relaxed and happy by the minute, I got to thinking – what if we took life like a sitcom? No matter what challenge and problems we may face, we always know how to learn from the situation, and end with a great laugh at the end of it all.
That’s how it is in sitcoms – no matter what, everything always turns out well and you know everything will be fine in the end. Things can get bad, but there is always a joke or a funny line that helps release the tension. I think there’s something we can all learn from this.
But, it is it really possible to do this in our everyday lives?
I think so. But first we have to realize the importance of humor, and that it could indeed be the best medicine and cure for almost anything.
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” E. E. Cummings
And it seems, there could be something to humor and laughter. I found some great notes on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America website on the topic of Laughter Therapy:
For years, the use of humor has been used in medicine. Surgeons used humor to distract patients from pain as early as the 13th century. Later, in the 20th century, came the scientific study of the effect of humor on physical wellness. Many credit this to Norman Cousins. After years of prolonged pain from a serious illness, Cousins claims to have cured himself with a self-invented regimen of laughter and vitamins. In his 1979 book “Anatomy of an Illness”, Cousins describes how watching comedy movies helped him recover.
Over the years, researchers have conducted studies to explore the impact of laughter on health. After evaluating participants before and after a humorous event (i.e. a comedy video), studies have revealed that episodes of laughter helped to reduce pain, decrease stress-related hormones and boost the immune system in participants.
According to some studies, laughter therapy may provide physical benefits, such as helping to:
- Boost the immune system and circulatory system
- Stimulate the heart and lungs
- Relax muscles throughout the body
- Trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller)
- Ease digestion/soothes stomach aches
- Relieve pain
- Balance blood pressure
- Improve mental functions (i.e. alertness, memory, creativity)
- Improve overall attitude
- Reduce stress/tension
- Improve sleep
- Strengthen social bonds and relationships
- Produce a general sense of well-being
Alright, there might be something to having a good laugh everyday. So I began my research and came up with a list for ideas on how we can incorporate a happy routine into our life.
I’ve been practising and loving every minute (and laugh).
1. Try to see the funny side of the situation
This could be a difficult one but if you manage to do this you’ll not only reduce your stress levels, but you will feel happy even if you would think that you should be sulking in that moment.
Here are a couple of things you can try to achieve this:
(i) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be nice and kind to yourself, have fun on your goofy moments and release any sense of embarrassment.
(ii) Keep things in perspective. We face continuous challenges in our daily life, and sometimes these can occur when we least need it to: we run out of cellphone battery just when we need to make/receive an important call; our car breaks down when we’re already running late; we spill coffee on ourself just before an important meeting. If you were in a sitcom, there would definitely be a funny story involved here. So look for the funny side, even if you’re just living in your head. It’s not the end of the world, regardless, so learn to just have a good laugh about the irony of it all.
2. Surround yourself with humor
This is easy to do – just choose who you want to spend your time with. Happiness is contagious, so choose to be around happy people and see how they deal with difficult situations.
If it is not possible to change the people you hang out with, then look for humor in other places. Watch more comedies, read funny books or look for funny stuff on the Internet. If the laughs don’t come you to you, then go in search for it. It’s out there.
3. Learn from kids
Kids are the masters of a good sense of humor, and are really funny creatures. They do not take anything too seriously. They know how to play, take life lightly and have a great laugh. So give it a shot – spend some time with kids, notice the things they say and how they react to stuff. You could very well have the best laugh for the week.
4. Bring humor to your conversation
Try asking people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”
Also you can try to learn a few good jokes for any situation. Google jokes, or buy a joke book and read it – be the person to make others laugh any time they may need it!
5. Count your blessings
This one works like magic for me. I literally make a list of all the things to be grateful for; the simple act of considering the good things in life distances me from negative thoughts, which essentially are a barrier to humor and laughter.
Try it – when you’re in a state of sadness, put in the work. Get grateful and you will notice how your heart and mind opens to having a good laugh.
Finally, here’s a short clip from one of my new favorite sitcoms, called Mom: Season 1. See how a situation most parents would find worrisome and stressful, is turned around in humor.
Do you think laughter is the best medicine? Share your tips on having a good laugh with us!