Laugh Your Way to Joy

I consider myself fortunate.  I married a man who likes to laugh.  We laugh at situations around us.  We laugh at private jokes.  We laugh at silly mistakes.  We are always finding reasons to laugh.  We truly are "laugh mates."  And that’s a big part of why we enjoy each other and our love feels so fresh.

When was the last time you shared a good laugh?  When you are newly in love, there is lots of laughter.  You find it bubbles out of you.  It’s easy to find things to laugh about.  That’s one of the reasons people “in love” have that special “glow” about them.

Readers Digest has a section they call “Laughter, the best medicine.”  They chose that title way before science had confirmed that indeed, laughter is good for your physical and mental health.

Yet, as time goes on, many couples forget how to laugh together.  It seems many times laughter begins to be directed AT the spouse, instead of laughing WITH the spouse. Thus, laughter becomes bitter and that which one person thinks is funny is actually harmful and hurtful to the other.  Sarcastic humor is rarely helpful.  Indeed, it can be biting and destructive.

So here’s a question for you:  Is your humor hurtful or helpful?  Does your sense of humor make your loved ones feel better (as good medicine) or does it actually tear them down and make them feel worse?

Good humor stimulates wit and laughter and it actually creates closeness and intimacy between people, while hurtful humor creates pain and emotional distance.

Laughter can cover a multitude of mistakes.  It can ease the pain of many failures and it can cut through a tense moment turning it from potential hurt and restoring a threatened relationship.  A home marked by joy is a home where we learn to laugh at ourselves and our situations.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Lighten up.  Relax.  As a couple, look for things to laugh about together and intentionally work to bring laughter into your home.

Here are a couple of suggestions for exercising your funny bone:

Pick up a book of jokes and try a few out on your partner.

Clip a funny cartoon out of the local newspaper to share.

Share a funny memory.

Let your partner know what makes you laugh.

Read each other a funny children’s book.  

Take turns doing things to make the other person laugh.  The other person will try to be serious.  First person to break with a smile and/or laugh will owe the other person a “favor” of their choice.

Watch a good, clean, funny movie or TV show together.  

Reminisce about shared funny times in your past.  If your life is anything like mine, you’ll have loads of stories and moments to reflect on—funny stories that at the time, might not have been so funny, but in retrospect, are.  

Look for the funny around you.

Scientific studies have proven that our cardiovascular and respiratory systems benefit more from twenty seconds of robust laughter than from three minutes of exercise on a rowing machine.  Laughter boosts the immune system and clears the mind.  Through laughter, muscles release tension and neurochemicals are released into the bloodstream, creating a natural “high.”

So make it a point to take your medicine—laughter—everyday.  An atmosphere which is marked by joy will prevail in a home where laughter is frequent.

Your turn:  Throughout the day, look for the funny around you and create it if you have to.  Make it a point to share a few laughs today.  Remember, the more you laugh together, the better you will feel about your relationship and life.

Photo via Flickr by Simon Blackley