1. Find Funny Anecdotes
Typically, anecdotes are short stories—but sometimes a one-liner is all you need. And they’re easier to remember. To ensure regular smiles, create a “laughter file” of anecdotes, jokes and comic strips. When life gets you down, read your file to put yourself in a happier mood.
2. Laugh Along, Not Alone
Watching funny performances with others makes you laugh more than watching alone. Dr. Sophie Scott at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (part of University College London) found that laughter is contagious because of responses in the brain. Laughing together also builds strong bonds in groups. So, if your family get-togethers tend to be tense, lighten things up by watching a funny video together.
3. Jump the Gender Divide
In The Owner’s Manual for the Brain, author Dr. Pierce J. Howard refers to an informal survey of stand-up comics who observed that men and women find different types of jokes funny. Men like slapstick humour (e.g., the Three Stooges or Tim Allen in Home Improvement) more than traditional jokes. Women enjoy jokes about relationships, the battle of the sexes, childbirth, and raising children—and they have a “drier” sense of humour than men. When you’re telling jokes to the opposite sex, don’t forget these gender differences! They may be as important as the punch line.
4. Watch Babies—Human and Animal
Kittens, puppies and toddlers are sure to get the giggles going—even just the thought of them elicits smiles! And you don’t have to be with kids or animals to enjoy a good laugh; simply watching them on film or in videos is a great way to relax for a few minutes.
5. Tickle the One You Love
Psychologist Randy Flanagan of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., says that you can’t tickle yourself, but if you want a good laugh you can enlist a loved one to awaken the nerves in your skin. Just make sure you’re caught by surprise, because anticipated tickles don’t usually get the giggles going. Tickles provide the additional benefit of human contact, so don’t be shy. Start a tickle fight with someone today!