It’s very easy not to laugh. Laughter tends to be a reflection of joy or happiness, and many of us grow up to learn not to trust that joy because something is probably going to happen to take it away from us. But it truly is “cheap medicine,” and many studies have shown that laughter actually improves our health; in fact, some people have recovered in amazing ways from serious illnesses by focusing on things that make them laugh, like their favorite comedies on television.
Laughter makes us brighter; it puts a sparkle in our eyes and brightens our faces. The sound of laughter can be infectious, and other people can benefit from our laughter. I know that I feel great when I’m laughing, as long as I’m not laughing at someone or at someone’s expense.
Whenever I’m in stressful periods of my life, I make it a point to find a comedy or two on TV, usually in syndication so I can watch them every day, and I set aside an hour each afternoon to watch them, relax, and laugh. When I was working on two MA’s at the same time, the shows were Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. Later on, when I was incredibly busy with work and other stuff, they were The Simpsons and Seinfeld. It doesn’t matter what the shows are–as long as they make me laugh, then I’m getting a very real benefit from them.
I also tend to read things like Calvin and Hobbes, for I know that a good laugh can make me feel much better on many different levels.
If we sit around and wait for laughter to show up, if we expect funny things to happen without looking for them, then we’re bound to be disappointed. But if we make time for things that will make us laugh, we’re going to find that the laughter becomes a very important part of who we are. The more I laugh, the easier it becomes for me to laugh, and I’m very thankful that I’ve made plenty of time to practice.