Two weeks ago my husband and I were given free tickets to one of the Just for Laughs comedy shows here in Montreal. The offer was last-minute and while my husband hesitated to say yes because such spontaneity lies outside of our daily norm, I jumped at the opportunity, quickly secured a babysitter and headed downtown. It was one of those nights when you know the world is on your side. My hair looked great, we found parking instantly, were first in line at the bar (you can’t watch a two-hour comedy show without a 12 oz. plastic cup filled with gin and tonic) and found our seats just as the host was making her way onto the stage. Thus began 120 minutes of continuous, uncontrollable laughter and I mean real laughter, the kind that makes your cheeks hurt and causes accidental snorting.
It’s sad to say but I almost forgot how good it feels to laugh so authentically. I mean when was the last time you let out a genuine laugh, not a sympathy “ha ha” for your friend’s failed attempt at being witty but a real diaphragm aching roar. It is, no joke, an amazing way to reduce stress, increase happiness and, surprisingly, boost your libido. Laughing with your partner can actually, in my personal opinion, make them sexier to you. It makes perfect sense. Sharing funny moments brings people closer and encourages positive bonds. Nobody’s motivated to fight when they spend most of their time laughing together.
Not convinced? Just Google Laughter Yoga, a practice of prolonged self-induced laughter. It’s growing in popularity and built on research that suggests that our body cannot differentiate intentional from real laughter so positively reacts to either. I’ve actually tried this. As silly as I may have looked, I managed to neutralise a super stressful day at work for myself and my neighbouring co-worker by succumbing to voluntary laughter after receiving what can only be described as hate mail from my boss. Yet with all the proven and obvious benefits of laughter, I think it’s safe to say that many of us fall short of our recommended servings. Just like exercise and eating right, we need to make an effort to include humour in our daily lives, particularly in our relationships which really take the brunt of it all.
I think what it all comes down to is having fun. Unfortunately, with time we spend a lot less effort on having fun and much more on…well…life. It’s a shame really. We’re all so busy filling our days with commitments and responsibilities that by the time we have a moment to enjoy we’d rather veg out in front of the TV than humour ourselves. We all crave it and are drawn to the sound of it and some of us do schedule it in on the occasional weekend or vacation, but that’s just not enough. I know I’m making more of an effort to take myself less seriously, be silly and have fun. Thankfully, I live in a great city that offers lots of entertainment like Food Truck Fridays at the Olympic Stadium, comedy shows at the Comedy Nest or ComedyWorks and bars such as the Randolph Pub where you can order a drink alongside a board game.
It’s time to put down the laundry and the dirty dishes and introduce a little more fun in our everyday. But please, if you’re going to do it and really commit to it, than do it while laughing out loud and like you mean it.