I have recently found out that my sister, who I am close with is moving states away. Most of our lives we have lived less than an hour away at most. While it’s good for her, it has been hard for me thinking about life without her family close by. Also, I found out I have some health issues that need to be addressed immediately. Lastly, I was informed yesterday that our landlord is going to start the process of selling the house we just moved into 4 months ago.
I am in a season of my life where I have forgotten to laugh. I have had alot of negative news and before that had been so busy with life that I didn’t prioritize laughter. I have been adding more time for rest and more time for play, however I realized laughter isn’t innately connected to that. I giggle with my kids and we chuckle at kid jokes, but I feel like I have been missing the really belly laugh, inside joke part of it for a while.
Why Focus on Laughter?
Outside of life being stressful, why should we focus on laughter? We have so much on our plate already, why add it to the always growing list of things to do, can’t we save it for that once a month night out? How does laughter benefit me?
These are great questions but no, don’t put it off. Find ways to add it to your everyday life, luckily you can multitask laughter. Psychology Today says while laughter creates a bonding experience (inside jokes, shared experience) it can also temper intense pain. I think that’s one of the reasons people sit around telling stories after gathering at a funeral. It helps to remember that person, bond over the memories and temper that pain if even for a moment.
If it can help temper intense pain, it would help temper lesser pain too. Think about the stress in your life, the hurting, whatever struggles you are going through is a great reason to put laughter purposely into your day. Light hearted humor is great, but can you find a way to see humor in the hard times? It can be tough, believe me, but when we can do that it can help relieve the pain for those who are emotionally living day by day or moment by moment. I encourage you to lighten your emotional struggle with something as significant as laughing.
What if you aren’t struggling right now?
Scientific American says that laughing actually improves your health. It enhances cadiovascular function and raises seratonin levels. I’ll be honest, I love finding easy ways to be healthier and I want to jump on this one! If you are looking to get healthier this is a good place to start. When your seratonin levels are raised it helps you be happier overall. What if you could listen to a comedy podcast while exercising, wouldn’t that be golden? *Warning if you try it I am not resposible for the times you burst out laughing and fall off the treadmill! But seriously try it and let me know how it goes!
Did you know there are different kinds of laughter? For instance, laughing with someone is far better for you than laughing at someone. Which makes sense since the motivation is different. Kind hearted humor has a differing effect on our bodies and the bonding with others is affected as well.If you want ideas of how to practically apply this to your life with kids here are some tips:
10 Ideas to Help You Laugh With Your Kids
- Tell jokes! Or try tongue twisters. Need some inspiration? You can find some fun kid joke books here and here. I recently had a twitter party on National Tell a Joke Day! Feel free to hop over to my twitter and read my family friendly jokes!
- Do silly pranks. It’s best if these are harmless silly pranks. For instance, one April Fool’s day my sister got a pan and put tinfoil over it. Inside was a bunch of letter E’s on brown paper. She told her kids they could have as many brownies as they want! Because they are pranksters over their laughter ensued!
- Use joke toys– the kind that gets kids thinking about how to prank someone, like a box of them here.
- Play funny songs or watch funny shows– I just discovered my boys love america’s funniest home videos. You could also try age appropriate comedians if your kiddos are old enough.
- The classic tickle fight-this usually has a high rate of return on the laughter, but sometimes we forget the simple things.
- Jump out and surprise them and challenge them to try to scare you too! I love seeing the lengths my boys will go to as they try to surprise me.
- Play silly games-these can be games you make up or board games like Pie Face or Doggy Doo, a game about dog poop (if you do potty humor with them, this is a funny game sure to illicit laughter)
- Speaking of potty humor, use word puns humor to make them laugh and include potty humor in that. Not only do they laugh but it actually helps them expand their vocabulary and understanding of how words work.
- Goofy Selfies– Now thanks to phones we can take pictures all the time, I find this one to be great when you are having to wait for something. If they are in a situation where a melt down can occur, engage with them instead. Snapchat filters to the rescue! (In all transparency I don’t have enough room on my phone for snapchat, but I have seen lots of parents who do it with their kids and it looks like alot of fun!)
- Finally physical humor, be goofy try doing things you haven’t done in years (like cartwheels) or fake falling down. My boys laugh so hard at these.
Some of these may seem obvious, but when you are in a season of laughing very little, it can help to brainstorm ideas and try new things. The average american laughs 17 times a day, so why not aim for more laughs today?
Are you struggling through a season of little laughter? What will you try to bring the giggles back?