Studies reveal that humour can have great health benefits. So, this World Laughter Day, resolve to laugh together as a family. Here is how you can get your daily dose of laughter
By Sahana Charan
In the daily grind of life and work, most of us forget to see humour in the small things and situations around us. Parents get busy with work and everyday chores, while children are bogged down by homework and extracurricular classes. But doctors will tell you that laughter is the cheapest medicine you can ever have to stay fit and healthy.
Consider this: a 15-year study by Norwegian researchers, involving 53,556 people found that women who scored high on humour had a 48 per cent less risk of death from various causes, while men who laughed more had a 74 per cent reduced risk. It was published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2016. So, what are you waiting for? Have fun regularly with your family and laugh a lot more. We give you more reasons to do that:
“Be around people who make you laugh. Laugh like no one is watching. It can even be something silly but it's funny still. Like yesterday when a bunch of my students was standing around and one of them walked up to ask me, "Yes mam, did you call me?" And the others laughed their heads off. It was a prank. I had not called that student. Laughter is harmless and makes life so much more cheerful.” – Renuka Phadnis, a media professional and educator.
1. Read comic books – Remember how, as kids we eagerly awaited the new edition of our favourite book of funnies to hit the stands and were thrilled to read the hilarious jokes within the crisp, new pages? Get all members of the family to bring their favourite comic books on a weekend and read them together. Share and have a good laugh. It’s a great way of bonding through laughter.
2. Look for humour in simple things – Do you know why children are usually happy? They manage to see humour in everything around them. Sadly, most of us adults have lost that ability. A pet playing with a squeaky toy, you saying something embarrassing in front of colleagues, your little one giving a long-winding description of what he did the whole day – find humour in these situations and giggle about them with your loved ones.
3. Invent funny dance moves – This is a cool thing to do when the extended family members are around, because it will bring out peals of laughter and guffaws. Organise a house party and make each person try one new dance move. The rule: it should be incredibly funny. When everyone, including the little ones, are on the dance floor, each moving to a different rhythm, you can all laugh to your heart’s content.
4. Indulge in laughter exercise – Not all laughter is motivated by funny incidents or humourous situations. Laughter can also be exercise or therapy that heals your body and gives health benefits. As a family, make it a norm to indulge in the physical act of laughing – maybe once a week or during holidays. Practise laughter yoga or have a hearty laughter session. Involve grandparents, children and everyone else in the family. These sessions not only make you healthy but also bring lots of positivity into your lives.
5. Plan an outing to watch a funny movie – As a family, we all do the usual stuff - go to the mall for shopping or have lunch at a restaurant and so on. Why not plan a family outing to watch a funny movie? Better still, get the children to plan an evening of fun for the family by playing a marathon run of funny films or videos. Arrange for snacks, gather everyone in a room and laugh your heart out watching these movies together.
6. Tell funny stories – We have all had our share of embarrassments and weird encounters that bring smiles on our faces every time we think about these incidents. Ask your kids to think of such funny experiences (and write them down if they want), and you can do the same. Choose a cosy space and sit around, while each person narrates his funny story. This is not just a fun-filled exercise, but also a great communication building tool.
7. Ask your phone browsers to tell you a joke – Whenever I and my 12-year-old son want to have a good laugh, we ask Google to tell us a joke or we ask Google Assistant questions like – “Don’t you ever get tired?” or “Am I looking good today?” The answers always elicit a cackle from us. Use your phone browsers for a joke or a funny song and indulge in unadulterated laughter.
8. Have fun with your pet – If you have a pet at home, it is an opportunity to have unlimited fun. Dogs and cats can be weird about certain things and their reactions can result in whoops and chuckles. For example – watch your dog’s reaction when you feed him something sticky. Or watch what happens when you keep a jug of water or a cucumber next to your cat. If you do not have pets, watch hilarious animal videos online and laugh your heart out.
9. Play harmless pranks – Humour in everyday life should foster goodwill, make people feel good and never hurt anyone’s feelings. Device hilarious gags at home that do not make fun of anyone but are meant for just a few laughs. Involve family members and watch the camaraderie.
10. Have your own family joke – Sometimes, even the most serious incidents can seem funny, when you think about them later. Many of us may have been in a difficult circumstance at least once in our lives, such as missing a flight, reaching horribly late for a close relative’s wedding party or having an altercation with someone. Looking back after a long time, we may see humour in all these situations. Create a secret joke with your child about such an incident and laugh about it whenever you find a chance. Your kid will learn that sometimes it is necessary not to take life too seriously.
Some laughter abbreviations:
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