“I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously.”
Possibly the most important attribute of people who lived long, healthy, lives and still had sharp, vibrant minds and brainwave well into their nineties was their ability to laugh, especially to laugh at themselves. Researchers have found that humor stimulates at least three areas of the brain. The hypothalamus, the center that controls our basic drives; the releases endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals; the cortex, the thinking part, gets involved as you try to “get” the joke. And attention and memory are stimulated as you compare the joke to jokes you have heard in the past. These effects last for several hours after a good laugh. So smiling and laughing should be done frequently during the day.
Taking yourself less seriously
We’ve all know the tight-lipped sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. You’ll be happy to know that he or she has a much higher chance of death than the person who laughs frequently, especially at him- or herself. So take your laugh, but not yourself seriously!
Ways to help yourself see the lighter side of life:
Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.
Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond our control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical. Deal with your stress. Stress is a major obstacle to humor and laughter.
Pay attention to children and imitate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing. This one is so important I need to repeat it –
Pay attention to children and imitate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing. Research has shown that adults who interact with children on a daily basis live longer, healthier lives.