The Feel Good Effect is a series exploring the habits, tactics and mindsets that you can use in your real life to feel good, everyday.
How it works: Each week I adopt a new Feel Good practice and trial it in my own life for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I share what I did, how it went, and the Feel Good Effect.
Feel Good Week 4: Laugh Every Day
Feel Good Practice
Laugh every day.
30 seconds to 2 hours.
Finding funny inspiration--videos, books, movies, tv shows, or other activities.
Free to $20 and up depending on whether you purchase books, movies, etc. or if you find funny content that’s free.
Why I Tried It
Laughing is important for our health! It feels good, of course, and it actually reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body and brain.
Lower levels of cortisol, can in turn, lead to improved brain function.
In one study, simply watching a 20-minute funny video significantly reduced cortisol levels and improved memory and learning in older adults.
Laughter can also improve relationships, and not just because we like being around people who seem happy.
Research has shown that watching a funny video clip makes people more likely to share more openly and honestly about their thoughts and feelings.
Another reason to laugh more? It’s contagious – in a good way.
When we laugh around other people it instantly activates brain areas associated with smiling and laughing in those people.
So just by laughing we automatically make others smile and laugh and spread positivity in the world.
My Feel Good Experience
I don’t laugh enough. This is the truth. I don’t know when this serious side took over, but somewhere between work, motherhood, and all the other responsibilities of adulthood I seemed to have stopped laughing.
Elle of course makes me smile daily, and her silly 5-year-old ways make me giggle, but laughter has definitely slipped from my life, and I was excited by the idea of bringing it back.
I started by gathering funny inspiration: YouTube videos, Netflix recommendations, book suggestions, and comedy shows.
Then I asked friends and family for suggestions in person and via Facebook, which turned out to be a fun way to gather ideas and to connect with my community by sharing humor.
Then, every night during the 2-week period I set aside a half hour at night to laugh. I’d tune into a show, watch some YouTube, or read a few chapters from a book.
After a few days I started eagerly looking forward to my evening laughing practice, and found that the more I laughed, the easier it came--both during the practice and throughout the day.
My husband also commented that he enjoyed hearing me laughing at night, and I often recruited him into the practice (well, I really just forced him to watch a bunch of YouTube videos), and it was really fun to laugh together.
Even on bad days I found the laughing practice to be uplifting, a feeling that lasted well beyond the funny experience.
Since I wasn’t in habit of looking for funny inspiration, gathering shows, videos, books and the like the beginning of the practice was a bit tricky.
I found that asking for recommendations from friends and family to be a great place to start and a great way to connect and laugh together.
Feel Good Effect
Focusing on laughing every day not only lifted my mood during the laughing itself, but seemed to contribute to a more light-hearted feeling throughout the day.
Also, the habit of looking for funny things provided more opportunities to laugh more in general, and to find the funny.
Finally, my laughing practice had a positive feel good effect on those around me, which in turn made me feel good.
Overall Feel Good Effect: High
Want to try this Feel Good Practice for yourself? Subscribe for free, exclusive access to the Feel Good Practice Journal Pages Library!
Is laughing a daily Feel Good practice for you? How do you incorporate it into your routine? What positive effects have you experienced as a result?