It's the beginning of February. We are well into the depths of winter, and a month past the time when we've set our intentions for the year ahead. By now, many of us have given up on our casually-stated and half-heartedly attempted resolutions. Like most people, a couple of my 2017 goals have fallen by the wayside (like trying to make all of my meals at home-- this just hasn't happened...yet!), but I've discovered over the years that the goals I care the most about usually "stick" beyond the first couple of weeks of January. And this year, one of my major intentions for the New Year was to approach things with more levity-- to not take myself or situations too seriously, and to laugh more.
You've heard the old adage, "Laughter is the best medicine" numerous times, and there's a reason this gem continues to be passed on: laughter really does positively impact our wellbeing, and the research supports this. Humor has been shown to alleviate stress, strengthen the immune system, and improve our relationships with others. In short, it really IS a panacea for that which ails us. And laughter is perhaps particularly important during this time of year when the persistent grey backdrop and chilly winter wind are unavoidable (unless, of course, you hop on a flight to St. Lucia). And this isn't the only harsh atmosphere we are "weathering" right now (pun intended); our political climate is undoubtedly a source of conflict and darkness for many of us, too.
3) Spend time with children. Kids say and do the most adorably ridiculous things. It's almost impossible to keep a straight face when playing a game with a child for any extended period of time.
4) Host a game night. Grab some friends and engage in a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity or Buffalo. The surprising connections players devise through these word association games usually make for a lot of laughter and good-humored ribbing.
5) Try something that you wouldn't normally do (and that scares you just a little bit), like a trapeze or improv comedy class. Taking ourselves outside of our comfort zones, and deciding ahead of time to just experience rather than to have expectations, builds self confidence and gives us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves. Enlist a friend to accompany you for additional fun & feel-good chemicals (sharing laughter and new experiences with others creates and strengthens bonding).
These are just a few tips to help you reconnect with your lighter side. Whatever your source of levity, try to tap into it whenever you feel heavy; besides making you feel better in the moment, laughter may just help you fend off the seasonal flu as well.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!