It's far more contagious than any cough, sneeze, or ﬂu. It brings people together and increases happiness and intimacy. It triggers healthy physical changes in your body. And maybe the most exciting part of all: it's fun, free and available to anyone just about anywhere.
I'm talking about laughter, which studies show can strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, lessen pain, and help protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Laughter should be an everyday staple, but it can be even more essential during the holiday season, which for some people can dredge up painful memories and bring together difﬁcult relationships and circumstances.
Laughter can make you feel good. That good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter stops. Humor helps you keep a positive outlook through the most difﬁcult of situations, disappointments, and even loss. Laughter can also give you courage and strength to ﬁnd meaning and hope. Even in the hardest of times, a laugh – or even simply a smile – can go a long way toward making you feel better. Just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
Laughter is innate. Babies begin smiling during the ﬁrst weeks of life and within a few months of being born, they laugh out loud. Even if you didn't grow up in a home where laughter was common, you can learn to laugh at any point in your life.
So how can you bring more laughter and humor into your life?