Want some power? Try laughter. This truth is powerfully illustrated by one of my favorite animated movies, Monster’s Inc. In it, a city of monsters whose source of electricity comes from the screams of children eventually discover that a child’s laugh produces way more power. That reality spoke to me the first time I watched this movie with my kids years ago. And while the fantasy setting of Monster’s Inc. is fictional, the benefits of laughter in our lives are well documented.
There is scientific data to back this up. According to the Mayo Clinic, in the short-term, laughter has been proven to increase muscle relaxation and produce physiological effects that impact your lungs, heart and other organs. Laughing also improves our mental health by reducing stress hormones, raising our endorphins (the chemicals that boost happiness in our brains) and strengthening our relationships. Research tells us that more we lean in, the more we laugh, with the average adult laughing approximately 17 times per day. Unfortunately, we can become so lost in the hustle of the grind or in our heads that we fail to be present and connect with the people and things that bring us joy. I suffer from this as much as anyone I know. I need to laugh more too.
So my challenge to you (and to myself) is to find five minutes every day to intentionally plug into content or people that you know will make you laugh and smile. Just five minutes. You waste more time than that every day looking at stupid shit on your phone. SO what will you choose? Maybe a clip from your favorite standup, or a quick daddy play session with your kids. Maybe it is your favorite childhood cartoon or a call...yes I said it..not a text...a call with an old friend. Whatever source of joy that works for you, we have got to give ourselves a daily dose of laughter. Not just to keep from crying, but to remind our bodies how to shine. If the old adage about an apple a day is true, then imagine the mental and physical power that comes from a gut busting laugh.
Looking for inspiration on adding laughter to your day? Sign up for the Men Thrive newsletter where you can find the things that are currently making us laugh. Let us know what makes you laugh using the #laughterispower