5 Ways to Laugh More During the Holidays
Could you use a few more laughs in your life? As it turns out laughing is really good for our health, both mentally and physically. Here are a few of the key benefits"
Laughter stops 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.
Laughter 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 and diffuse conflict.
Laughter draws you closer to others, which can have a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health.
The best 5 ways to keep laughing during the holidays:
1. Watch funny holiday movies
Nothing keeps you laughing like a good holiday movie! Some of our favorites include, “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Jingle All The Way,” “Home Alone” and “The Santa Clause.” It’s always fun to watch a movie and have a few good laughs by yourself or with the entire family.
2. Sing & dance
“Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth.” – Mark Twain.
Singing is a natural antidepressant. It’s known to release endorphins (the feel good chemicals) and thus naturally elevates mood. Singing creates an immediate sense of pleasure, as does dancing, regardless of what it sounds or looks like.
That’s great news for those of us (myself included) that may be a bit tone deaf. Or for those who are not as coordinated as others. It just doesn’t matter. The point is to enjoy yourself and get into the moment.
3. Make it family games night
Games are a great way to bond with family members and enjoy a lot of spontaneous laughs over the holidays. Getting together around a board game can be so much more fun than even watching a comedy together.
Our top picks include the following: “Taboo,” “Activity,” “Apples to Apples,” and “Cards Against Humanity.” Of course classics like “Monopoly" and “UNO” are always fun with the kids too. Who knows, you could even do some serious family bonding over a game of cards.
4. Laugh at yourself
Research shows that people who can laugh at themselves tend to be more likely to “feel good and worry less.” People who worry less are also less prone to chronic stress. Chronic stress cranks up the natural fight-or-flight hormonal system in our bodies. According to the Mayo Clinic, this hormone is linked to many emotional and physical health issues, including headaches, heart disease, digestive issues, anxiety and depression.
5. Look for the humor
Did you know we can actually program ourselves to look for the humor in everyday things? Research out of the University of Zurich found that people who write down three funny things that happened each day for only one week were able to increase their overall happiness and decrease depressive symptoms for up to six months.
The great thing about this exercise is that you’ll also begin to train your brain to find the humor in things in real time, rather than just in retrospect. As things happen during the day you’ll think, “I’ll write that down later,” and that’s when you know you are training yourself to see humor in everyday life.
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