“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
―Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
I recently moved to a new city where I knew no one (Austin, Texas). It’s a great city and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long, long time.
As always, I fell into my routine, which historically, has always included plenty of work time spent alone. One day, after having little interaction with the outside world as I went about my daily schedule, I realized that I was living days in which which I had not laughed once during my entire 16 hours of wakefulness.
This realization struck me as a problem. A big problem.
There’s all kinds of research that points to the benefits of laughing for not only your mental health, but also your physical health. That aside, I love laughing, so why the hell would I not make it a point to get some in every single day?
So I decided to do something about it.
Every day, I now make a point to listen to some standup on Spotify—Louis CK or Jim Gaffigan usually hit the spot. Then, I try to watch a couple “funny” YouTube videos or a preferred “funny” show on Netflix.
For most people, they have a problem spending too much time with these mediums. However, my problem is the opposite: I have to force myself to spend time with them.
So, what are the results of my new laugh initiative? This: I laugh daily and I’m happier because of it.
It’s really as simple as that.
I think laughing is a prescription that needs to be prescribed to more people in our society. As we grow, we become hardened, serious, and for the most part, boring.
Forget that. I say laugh easy, hearty and often.
Laughing is a form of vulnerability. You might be judged, or even thought a fool at times. Whatever… that’s a small price to pay for the benefits of feeling good and happy.
Furthermore, I think laughing is one of the reasons why being social is so good for human health. We are naturally inclined to laugh and be joyful when we are around people we like and care about, and science has proven this time and time again how important being social is for health and longevity and happiness. But I haven’t seen much from science as to why this is. I think it’s the prevalence of humor and laughing that is the main reason; it’s that freaking good for you.
Whether you are around people or not, exercise your laugh muscles as much as possible. And never let a day go by where you don’t laugh out loud.