It has been said that the people who laugh the most are either about age 5 or about age 72. This news is sad in some respects because the ability to laugh, and to laugh at oneself, is one of the greatest measures of resilience that a person can enjoy.
Our professional and personal lives are filled with trials and tribulations — some quite serious, but most rather trivial when looked upon with perspective. The ability to laugh, and particularly to laugh at yourself when you make a small mistake, is more important than you know.
Physicians who work hard, keep their noses to the grind stone, remain serious all day long, and never take any time to recognize what could be a lighthearted moment put themselves at risk. Laughter, it has been shown, is associated with those who have stronger immunity, become ill less often, and outlive their peers, all other things being equal.
He who laughs least
Who laughs least in the course of a day? Those averaging age 44, plus or minus five years. If you fall into that age range, you might not be laughing sufficiently. If so, here are some ideas for getting back into the groove:
1. Look for the fun aspects of what otherwise represents arduous or tedious tasks. If you find yourself going down the same path, throw up your hands, smile and say "Here I go again." It might not seem like it will help, but it will.
2. Feel free to read the comics in the newspaper, or go online to find your favorite comic strip. Once or twice a day, read the comics of your choice. If you only get a momentary chuckle, it will still be to your benefit.
3. Joke around with some of your staff on occasion. Not everything has to be totally serious. The more mirth that you show, the better they will enjoy their working conditions. It's a fact of life that humor makes everything seem a little more palatable. So do your job, and make your office a bit cheerier.
4. Spread the mirth at home. Joke with your significant other, or your kids, or with whomever you reside. No matter what your station is in life, how much you earn, or which titles and degrees you have, don't be so uptight that you can't be lighthearted when an opportunity arises.
5. Listen to humorous podcasts or audiobooks, particularly as you commute. You do not need to be switched on to the news 24/7. A bit of time away from all that serious stuff will be to your great benefit. Go ahead and laugh out loud in your car. If no one's listening, perhaps all the better.
A true bargain
The great news about having a laugh, particularly on yourself, is that it costs nothing, requires very little energy, takes only a few moments, and yields a wonderful payoff.