“She who laughs at herself will never cease to be amused!” I tell myself every time I do something silly.
And that, readers, is why you will frequently find me laughing.
I call my klutzy, awkward, or even just accidental mistakes “Helen Moments”, and use them as opportunities to smile and laugh… and often I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I’m unconsciously making myself feel happier, by responding positively rather than negatively to that moment in time.
I think laughing at myself is a very affirmative thing. Rather than being embarrassed when I mess up or fall down, I “laugh it off” and frequently feel good as a result. It relieves any tension I am feeling at the situation. It increases my self-esteem, because I see the error from a positive perspective rather than a negative one. I don’t dwell on the problem, I laugh and move on.
As long as I am laughing WITH myself and being amused at my own mistake rather than laughing AT my error and putting myself down, laughter can be a supportive part of my self-care and self-love. I can accept my flaws with grace and positivity before moving on with the next moment of my day.
There are scientific studies arguing that laughter physically triggers the release of endorphins in your brain and actually relaxes your body. Many health practitioners encourage laughter and smiling as part of a healthy attitude and lifestyle.
There are ‘laughter clubs’ all over the world of people who get together just to laugh in groups. Laughter is contagious, affirmative, and sometimes other people’s laughter can be amusing! Everyone has many different kinds of laughs… I know that I have a ridiculous high-pitched giggle and a snorty-low-bellied chuckle. Sometimes, listening to myself makes me laugh even harder… because I sound hilarious! If I’m with friends, and they start laughing at my laugh, it starts a chain reaction of giggles that has us all smiling, chuckling, and feeling good.
I was chatting with one of my flatmates about laughing at myself and how positive I think it is, and he asked me “What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done, then, Helen?”
I had to take a moment to sift through many hilarious memories to find a really funny one. In the end, there were too many to select just one, but I told him about the time I ran into a closed glass door and then, when reeling back in surprise and pain, knocked a plate of food on myself and my friend. Priceless. He laughed. So did I. Sharing that funny memory brightened up our morning.
Laughter definitely brings joy into my life. I think laughter is a joyful expression of emotion.
What do you think? Does laughing at yourself make you feel happier? Leave me a comment and tell me about a time when you laughed at yourself! I’ll chuckle with you!
Some Resources on Laughter and Health:
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research’s “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke”
HelpGuide.org’s “Laughter is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter”
James Gorman on The New York Times’ “Scientists Hint at Why Laughter Feels So Good”
Steve Mazan’s 15 minute Ted Talk about “The Power of Laughter”
Melissa Breyer on Care2’s “8 Health Benefits of Laughter”
Dr. Andrew Wiel, M.D.’s “Laughter Makes You Happy”