Laughter sharpens your wits and boosts your health, it’s true! In the book A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits (Conari Press, 2009), author Sondra Kornblatt write about the 8 Health Benefits of Laughter–but what if we don’t live with Jim Carrey or we forgot to save our old Bill Cosby records? No problem, Kornblatt has these 7 laughter exercises to give your brain a giggle workout:
1. Find out what’s funny. Something’s funny when you snort milk out of your nose–but what makes you laugh? Absurd humor replaces the familiar with the unexpected. Wile E. Coyote chases Road Runner after being smashed by a piano. Superior humor–like lawyer jokes–rearrange life’s hierarchies. In dark humor, you laugh at what scares you.
2. Laughter without a joke. Laughter may also be about relationships, says Robert Provine, professor at the University of Maryland. In fact, you may be “tuned” for laughter from family and culture. It helps you cope with life–or a rude in-law–by relieving mental and physical tensions.
3. Immerse yourself in humor. Check out comedy books, movies, and tapes at the library or stores.
4. Trigger laughter. Our mirror neurons trigger humor by hearing others laugh. Just like yawning, but more fun. Ha. Start smiling when you listen to laugh sounds from the Bachorowski Lab. Ha ha. Or buy a laughter CD–60 minutes of chuckles. Ha Ha Ha. great background noise for a party.
5. Read the comics in your newspaper or online. From the traditional to the old–Baby Blues, Betty, or Bizarro, they’re a daily dose of humor.
6. Try laughter meditation, consisting of stretching, laughing, and silence. It can transform your energy and mood.
7. Join a laughter club or a laughter yoga class. Participants playfully imitate breathing and sounds of laughter, until simulated laughter turns into teh real thing. They receive healing, company, humor, and the physical sensation of deep laughs.