Learning to Be Me: Laugh!

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A few years ago, one of my girls looked at me during lunch and said, “Ms. Pflaumer, you laugh more than any teacher in the world!” I asked her if that was a bad thing. She assured me it was a good thing and added, “I’ve just never known anyone that laughs as much as you do!”

It’s true. I laugh daily. If I don’t laugh in my classroom, I most likely laugh at home thanks to my entertaining feline roommates. I laugh.

Do you laugh? As I’m learning who I truly am supposed to be, I’m certainly holding true to the value of daily laughter. I encourage you to do likewise.

You see, laughter is said to be good for your health. I’m not making that help…LAUGHING is good for you! As I was preparing to write my thoughts on this aspect of myself, I did a bit of searching online. Feel free to check out the articles I found on Help Guide and Mayo Clinic websites.

The first article shares how a good strong bout of laughter lessens stress, triggers the release of endorphins, and increases immune cells & infection-fighting antibodies. In the world of Covid-19 with flu season approaching, why not give yourself a daily dose of laughter? Find a funny friend on social media and follow their posts. Find a daily joke site and sign up for their joke-of-the-day messages. Or, just look for the humor of the day. It’s not hard if you’re looking for it. I mean, I was driving behind 3 white pickups last Thursday on my way to the gym and started chuckling because I found it funny. I laughed out loud when I turned left and the first vehicle coming out of the entrance was a white truck. I found it humorous, so I chuckled.

With my get-healthy-over-50 goal, I especially am a fan of the fact that a good round of 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn 40 calories. Obviously to get this perk, it would take more than white vehicles…or even a joke of the day. However, there are plenty of shows or movies you could watch to give yourself a good round of laughter. Perhaps there’s a comedian you enjoy that you could find on YouTube? Give it a try. The laughter will do you good!

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The second article shares how laughter stimulates circulation and helps muscle relaxation. The next time you find yourself tense from stress or your workload, grab the comics from the paper or read a kids book that’s been written with the purpose of causing laughter. I read kids book daily as a teacher and often times I find myself laughing just as quickly as my third or fourth graders. Plus, I’m sure this won’t shock you, but laughter aids in mood management. Laughter can lessen a down mood or anxious mindset. Laughter is powerful.

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Last week, a new student joined my classroom for part of each day. She makes my heart smile. She has a laugh that is genuine and contagious. While I’m reading aloud, I tend to be a “bit” dramatic and animated. She gets tickled and starts laughing. Her laugh is never a little giggle, but it’s always a belly laugh. I try to tune it out in order to finish the book, but I admit…sometimes, I can’t. I have no choice but to laugh with her. The same happens each day before we exit the room and head to the bus. I say or do something that makes her laugh, and her laugh infects me…and I laugh too. So, if laughter is missing from your daily routine, find a friend who laughs. Then, join him/her laughing.

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Alas, some people need more encouragement with this aspect of life than others. A friend of mine is often in a down mood during and after work. When he’d leave work, I’d ask how his day was and his response was almost always grumpy and negative. So, being Jodi…I would try to redirect his mindset. I’d ask him something positive about his day and generally, he could only say he was leaving work. Then, I’d go to my other weapon…laughter. I’d find a meme or a joke that I though would bring a little grin and send it his way. Sometimes it would work, and other times he refused to allow it to have power over his life-stinks view. But…at least I tried. What about you? Do you have a storm-cloud in your life that could use a bit of laughter? Make it your mission to sprinkle chuckles into his/her day. Let the benefit of humor and laughter have a go at overcoming the grumpiness and stress. It might just work!

Jodi’s Tips to Bring More Laughter into Your Life…

  1. Laugh at yourself.
  2. Find the humor in bad situations instead of reasons to moan.
  3. Write down jokes or humorous stories that make you laugh, so you can enjoy them again later.
  4. Not good at making jokes? Find a joke book at your local bookstore.
  5. Checkout TV shows that make you laugh. [You may need to go back a few years or decades to find ones that are clean enough to share with your children or family.]
  6. Buy a DVD (or download) a show of a comedian you like. If they’re good enough, the same material can make you laugh each time you watch it (just like sitcoms).
  7. Spend time with friends and /or family who laugh. Laughter is contagious.
  8. Know what’s funny, and NEVER laugh at someone else’s expense.
  9. Don’t hold back your laughter; let it roll. (Unless you’re at a funeral….or wedding….or in court.)
  10. Don’t go a day without laughing at least once.
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