When was the last time that you laughed – really laughed – at something? If you can't remember, or if it was more than a few days ago, then you're really handicapping your chances of being happy with your life before you even try to focus on what you need to be content.
Numerous research studies have shown the benefits of regular laughter: ranging from health benefits such as reduced blood pressure and stress hormones; the healthy function of blood vessels (possibly resulting in a reduced risk of a heart attack); and triggering the release of endorphins (the body's natural “feel good” chemicals, which may help to alleviate melancholy and depression) to enhancing your mood and emotional state; easing feelings of anxiety and fear; and putting the challenges in your life into a more light-hearted perspective.
I am usually reluctant to introduce a religious aspect to my opinions because I consider myself to be religiously agnostic. However, in this case it is useful to refer to the Bible simply because it illustrates for just how long people have acknowledged the benefits of laughter and humour on your general well-being: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, King James Version).
Regular laughter and appreciation of humour go hand-in-hand with happiness and well-being. The ability to laugh at yourself and others is more than just an idle pastime – it is a state of mind. If you are receptive enough to always look for the humour in life's daily events; your interaction with others; and the challenges that we all face, then you are providing yourself with a solid foundation on which to build a content life.
Life can often be very serious and challenging. However, we must remember that we were each children once, and never lose sight of the innocent pleasures that we used to enjoy as children – and can still enjoy now if we just adopt the right state of mind. Life is simply too short and too precious to waste it being miserable and focusing on what you don't like about yourself or your environment.
It is often said that laughter is the best medicine – who am I to disagree? The best thing of all? We can all self-medicate. It's that ability to take control of your own sense of well-being using the power of laughter (and the right state of mind in which you are open to seeing the funny side of everything that happens to you) that makes laughter and humour so powerful. It really is within your control to make yourself happier and more content.
Me? Laughter – proper, hearty laughter at some joke or incident – features in my life every single day. Perhaps not that many people can say that, but then again that's why I founded this blog (and why I am truly happy with my life).
Not many things in life that are really, genuinely good for you are free. Laughter is. Make sure you take full advantage and share it with the people you love.