On the 24th of July, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.
We’re the kind of people who love an excuse to have fun and treat ourselves, so we had a special evening planned. This, of course, involved hours of planning and researching!
On the big day, we were very excited about staying in a luxury villa in the mountains above Marbella in Spain, with a private dinner served to us on the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean.
This should have been romantic and special.
But, the whole evening turned out to be a disaster!
As an opener, we were served tapas. This would have been lovely, had they not based them on all the things we’d explained we couldn’t eat. We had no choice but to turn them down, particularly uncomfortable as there was nowhere to hide. We were the chef’s only guests!
What’s more, throughout the meal the hotel dog, as beautiful as he was, somewhat cramped the romantic feel by begging at the table for the entire 90 minutes! The waitress (who only had us to wait on after all!) did nothing to discourage him, even when we were noticeably trying to shew him away.
Then when the actual meal eventually arrived it was mediocre at best.
Afterwards, and perhaps worst of all, the chef came out to our table, challenging us on why we wouldn’t eat his tapas.
After tea (the tea being served in a dainty milk jug and the milk in a gravy boat!), we took the remainder of our wine and moved to our private balcony to finally have some peace and quiet and focus on having a nice anniversary together.
So, why am I sharing this story with you today?
Well, at that point we had two choices.
We could get angry, disappointed and upset about our one childfree evening on our 10th wedding anniversary being ruined.
Or we could laugh and create a really funny memory.
Which one did we chose? You guessed it. We laughed. And still do!
Because, what we focus on we get more of.
And we prefer a giggle to a moan, the resulting amused and even joyous emotions rather than the opposite sadness, anger or upset.
So, right now it may be getting darker in the evenings and we feel a chill in the air. But we can still make sure we keep, or instil more positive light and warmth into our lives.
How we feel about our daily lives and experiences is often blamed or attributed to external circumstances. The people and events that exist and happen around us. That happen to us.
However, I’d argue we are way more in control than that.
How we respond to events is what shapes our experiences, NOT so much the experiences themselves.
One of the most effective ways to feel better and gain or maintain a positive mindset is laughter.
My husband and I won’t get another 10th wedding anniversary to celebrate.
However, our chosen response was still to laugh. We laughed at our shambollic ‘luxury evening’. And we feel so much better for it!
I use the word chosen, because it’s always a choice. Not necessarily an easy one, but nonetheless one in our control to chose.
So consider the options you have available and give yourself an opportunity to feel better by laughing rather than complaining. There are times when the latter really is the appropriate response, but more often than not we can allow ourselves to feel way better than moaning will make us feel (we did complain by the way, but left it at that and didn’t continue the moaning afterwards. What they chose to do with the information is up to them and we can only hope they’d listened and learnt before the next romantic dinner was arranged!).
Here’s a list of reasons for encouraging more laughter in your life:
- Laughter releases endorphins, which generate a sense of well-being and a positive mindset. In fact, many anti-depressants try to replicate the role of endorphins!
- Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Hence, laughter boosts your immune system and improves your resistance to disease.
- Laughter protects your heart. It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which lowers blood pressure and can help protect you against a heart attack.
- Laughter is a form of mild exercise. It fills the lungs with oxygen similar to aerobic exercise, and it exercises the abdominal muscles.
- Laughter allows you body to automatically relax. In fact, a good, hearty laugh relieves muscle tension and psychological stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter increases the ability to stay focused through reducing stress and increasing energy, enabling you to accomplish more.
- Laughter reduces feelings of overwhelm and promotes resilience. It creates psychological distance, enabling you to see more choices and gain a less threatening and more realistic perspective.
- Laughter promotes relationships, attracts others to us and defuses conflict.
There you have it; the business case for laughing more! Pretty compelling right? Yet, at times it can be pretty hard to allow ourselves to enjoy a good laugh.
So here’s a helping hand in a 6 point plan for helping yourself see the light side of life:
- Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments and allow the humour in them to be the focus.
- Laugh at situations rather than complain about them. Look for the irony and absurdity of life by looking for the humor in a bad situation. Both your mood, and the mood of those around you, will soon improve.
- Surround yourself with light and happy reminders. Frame your favourite joke and keep it in easy sight. Choose funny wallpaper for your computer or smart phone. Frame photos of you and people you love having fun.
- 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.
- Make time for fun, laugh inducing activities. Watch a comedy, share a funny story or joke, read funny books and simply just do something silly for the fun of it!