When I first met my husband in college, he described me to his family by saying, “She laughs at my jokes.” He has lots of other great qualities, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would be his sense of humor. He’s just plain funny, and even in hard times and through some of the difficult days we’ve had, his humor has helped me to put things in perspective.
I recently read Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure. I started the book thinking I was getting some kind of diet book, or at least a cookbook, with explanations of what is good (and bad) to eat. This book is much more a recipe for living, with the French joie de vivre front and center. In my favorite part of the book, the author describes her early relationship with her husband Edward. When Edward’s mother asked him how things were going with Mireille, he said, “She makes me laugh.” Guiliano writes, “Over the years we’ve laughed a lot, and when I ask him, ‘Do you still love me?’ he always answers, ‘As long as you make me laugh.'” We can certainly relate!
The verdict is still out on whether laughter really is “the best medicine.” Some scientists insist that laughing is almost a form of exercise, with health benefits to match (burning calories, boosting immunity, and reducing blood pressure, among others). Others believe the benefits are mostly from feeling connected in social situations, where laughter is often shared. What seems clear is that a good belly laugh helps to relieve stress and release tension, which certainly improves your feelings of well-being. I don’t need scientific proof to consider that a serious health benefit (or to see how it could help a long-term relationship)!
In her book, Guiliano mentions that adults laugh an average of 15 times a day, compared to the hundreds of times that children laugh. Her point illustrates the belief that “laughter keeps us young”–and who can argue with that? There’s nothing like a hearty laugh to make you feel alive and energized. My own opinion is that laughter is good for your health AND your relationships. Whatever tickles you, find it and indulge in a generous dose daily. (And it’s Monday, right? So take a bigger dose today!)
I’d love to know what you think. Does laughter keep you feeling young? Do your relationships seem better when you can share a laugh? What do you find funny? Please share your comments!