Humour is a way to strengthen your relationship. In challenging moments, humour can help you find a silver lining and transform painful situations. What if you could find ways to laugh and play together and write a tough narrative in a positive light.

The benefits of laughter
It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. But by seeking out more opportunities for humour and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to your life.

Here are some ways to add more laughter to your life:
Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter, and like laughter, it’s contagious. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Instead of looking down at your phone, look up and smile at people you pass in the street, the person serving you a morning coffee, or the co-workers you share an elevator with. Notice the effect on others.

Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the positive aspects of your life will distance you from negative thoughts that block humour and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to reach humour and laughter.

Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humour in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lighthearted, humorous person, you can still seek out people who like to laugh and make others laugh. Every comedian appreciates an audience.

Bring humour into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”

Other tips to add laughter and happiness to your life:

  • Creating opportunities to laugh
  • Watch a funny movie, TV show, or YouTube video.
  • Invite friends or co-workers out to a comedy club.
  • Read the funny pages.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Share a good joke or a funny story.
  • Check out your bookstore’s humour section.
  • Host game night with friends.
  • Play with a pet.

Try to look on the bright side. In addition to offering benefits to your physical health, laughter benefits your mental and emotional well-being and can help you cope with the stresses of everyday life. Instead of ruminating about a stressful situation or minor mistake, try creating a new habit of joking about it. Finding humour in life can help you see things in a different light and reduce your stress about the circumstance.