Don’t get me wrong, life can be serious. There is enough hunger, poverty, angst, stress and general “icky” stuff in the world to go around. My hope and encouragement for you today is to make a concerted effort to focus on the positive and laugh a little more. There are plenty of studies and articles about laughter’s physiological benefits for you to read, but I won’t go into that here. I just want you to take yourself a little less seriously.
Have you even noticed that you don’t normally laugh out loud (as often) when you’re alone? It is because that is how we are wired. According to Richard Boyatzis, an expert in emotional intelligence, “In a neurological sense, laughing represents the shortest distance between two people.” (I got that quote from a great article in the Elephant Journal.) Laughter is a great way to connect to one another and a great way to quickly and easily lift your mood.
One of my favorite techniques (for lack of a better word), is to write down 10 things I am grateful for, each and every day. Ideally you should do this when you first roll out of bed in the morning, yes, even before coffee. This is such a gratifying and encouraging way to start your day. The 10 items don’t have to be earth-shattering, profound revelations either. Just simple things you find yourself being thankful for in your life. As an example, here is my list from this morning:
- The sun is out
- My kitty is snuggled in my lap
- I have a reliable vehicle to get me around
- My house is warm and dry
- I can afford coffee beans and a grinder
- I’m meeting a trusted friend for lunch today
- I’m physically able to perform and teach yoga
- I live in a beautiful resort town
- I’m physically able to hike in the woods and escape civilization
- I enjoy my job
Life can be challenging and can present situations that we would rather not have to deal with. But we have the power to control our thoughts and emotions. We have the power to determine how we are going to respond to those situations. I think it was someone akin to Tony Robbins that said we do not have to be controlled by what life throws our way. It is how we respond to life that makes the difference. You have that control.
Take a little time today to reflect on how you respond to every day situations. Perhaps you can adjust your thinking and your responses to them by realizing that you control the outcome. Review your list of gratitudes and smile a bit when you realize that there are some great highlights in your life. You just have to uncover them.
Lastly, make someone laugh today. Share a joke. Share a silly video. Or, just share a funny story over a cup of coffee. You’ll immediately connect with them and, more than likely, brighten their day a little. You’ll become something that they are grateful for!