Laugh Like an Optimist
Tell a joke today. Watch some comedy and make sure you laugh out loud. Practice laughing for the fun of it.
Life may have many difficulties, but there’s usually a funny side to every situation.
My cousin Karina Wegner is a psychologist in Australia’s sub-tropical Hervey Bay. Karina’s well-researched expert opinion is that “you should have as much fun as possible and laugh as much as you can. When you couple these together, you should be able to keep ‘depression’ (what they now call the disease of the 21st century) away. When you enjoy yourself and laugh, you will increase the serotonin levels in your body, thereby decreasing the risk of depression. When my clients leave my office in Queensland’s Hervey Bay, my practice manager makes sure the client is laughing or at least smiling before they leave. I have a waiting list of near three months and my clients travel long distances to see the “Optimistic Psychologist.”
University studies have shown laughter can improve your immune system. increase disease fighting antibodies and lower inflammation in the body. Laughter increases heart rate and blood flow, and has similar health benefits to exercising. Endorphins are released during laughter, which helps to relieve pain, reduce cravings and stress, and slow the ageing process.
Humour can alleviate feelings of stress and depression.
It’s not always easy but when family and colleagues test your patience, put a smile on your face - even forced ones help. Try to find the humour in the situation and make a light-hearted comment. Not always easy, but give it a go!
In Part 2 of my book "Optimism: The How and Why", there’s a chapter on the humour of optimism which may help lighten your mood and put people at ease as you become more of an infectious optimist. On this Centre for Optimism website, there's a page of optimism jokes too.
Otherwise, go out and buy a book of jokes or dust off those joke books gathering dust on your bookshelves.
Lee Tonitto, CEO, Australian Council of Professions
"I believe optimism is in my nature. I surround myself with positive people. I try everyday to value the small things. I support other people. I laugh everyday."
Laughter Yoga International
"Laughter helps to create a positive mental state to deal with negative situations and negative people. It creates hope and optimism to cope with difficult times."
"Positive humor is associated with self-esteem, optimism, and life satisfaction, and with decreases in depression, anxiety, and stress. Negative humor follows the exact opposite pattern: While it can feel good in the moment, it exacerbates unhappiness."
Keep your sense of humor. It’s tempting to take life seriously. But that just collapses the whole soufflé. Groucho Marx said, “If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.” And here’s Charles M. Schulz: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today — it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you,” Langston Hughes tells us, and we can smell the truth in it.
“A lot of satire is optimistic about the human condition. It’s pointing out where things have gone wrong, so you have to believe that things could go right.”
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