We've all heard that laughter is the best medicine. But it's a limited resource when the cold weather inspires us to lock ourselves indoors and facedown on a heating vent until the groundhog says it's safe to stop hibernating… (This just in: He predicts six more weeks.) Jokes aside, the winter chill can prevent social interactions and outdoor activities, reducing our exposure to human connections and natural light, which we rely on for serotonin and endorphin production. To get those feel-good chemicals flowing, registered nutritionist Meghan Telpner suggests laughing more. And a study on treatment methods for women suffering from depression confirms that laughter releases anxiety-fighting neurotransmitters. Get in on the fun and combat the winter woes with our laughing tips below.
Try a Laughing Yoga Class
Yes, you read that correctly. Laughter Yoga International is spreading happiness, peace, and health, one guided class at a time.
Phone a Friend
If you don't want to leave your warm cocoon of a bed, call a friend who shares your sense of humor and laugh it out. A feeling of camaraderie can do wonders since laughter is contagious. Or if you're at the office, invite a like-minded coworker on a trip to the water cooler for comedy hour. Feeling thoroughly anti-social? Read a funny book like I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley.
Utilize Your Social Feeds
Fake It 'Til You Make It
None of these tactics putting a smile on your face? Go somewhere private and fake cackle your heart out. The absurdity of the situation just may trigger a genuine laugh. And if it doesn't, studies have shown that our bodies release the mood-boosting chemicals regardless of whether your laugh is genuine or phony. So even if your laugh isn't authentic, your resulting improvement in mood will be.
While laughter may relieve dips in mood and lift your spirits through serotonin production, consider contacting a support hotline if you're suffering from Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Spread the good cheer by sharing your favorite funny social media accounts below!