Ask any mum, dad, grandparent, uncle, aunt, step mum, step dad or second cousin once removed what they want for their kids. The universal answer: they want their kids to be happy, and healthy.
But how do we do that? There is no one fool-proof golden rule to raising healthy, happy kids. And kids don’t come with a manual (wouldn’t that be nice). But there are things you can do that will certainly help.
We all know being ‘healthy’ and ‘happy’ go hand in hand. When you’re positive and loving life, you’re bound to look after yourself better than when you’re down in the dumps. And it’s been proven that depression can have negative impacts on your health and wellbeing.
In the same way, when kids are surrounded by healthy, happy people, particularly their parents, they’re more likely to be happy and positive themselves. We know laughter, smiles, motivation and happiness are all contagious – positive vibes can fill a room, spreading to all those around them. And this is where laughter comes in.
Why Laughter is SO Beneficial.
From physical health to mental health, there’s reasons behind the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’…. Science has proven that laughter is good for you, and your family, in many ways.
Most importantly, laughing increases the release of endorphins, those amazing feel-good hormones.
And the experts say laughter not only improves your mental health, but also positively affects your overall health and can have long-terms effects. The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research says laughter may improve your immune system, relieve pain, increase your ability to connect with other people and (most importantly) lessen feelings of depression and anxiety.
The Mayo Clinic also says laughter actually causes physical changes in your body; stimulating your heart, muscles and lungs, aiding muscle relaxation, increasing your intake of air, and ‘firing up’ then ‘cooling down’ your stress response, making you actually feel more relaxed as a result.
And there’s always that undeniable proof in our own experiences; it feels so good to share a ‘good old laugh’ with your kids, letting their infectious humour and giggles spread. And of course, there’s been many a tense situation that has been broken by a fit of the giggles!
So how do you get yourself, and your family, laughing more? We’ve got you covered!
How to Get More Laughs In
It may sound difficult to plan laughter into your schedule. But it’s not as hard as you think. Planning family activities that get you giggling is a sure-fire way to add to laughter into your day!
We know laughter is contagious – it’s pretty hard as a parent not to giggle when the kids are cracking up. And let’s not forget those moments when it’s not socially appropriate to laugh, but you take one glance at a friend’s knowing look and the next minute you’re rolling on the floor in hysterics.
So anything that usually results in laughter for you or the kids, is a great place to start.
Family games and activities that involve a bit of craziness are likely to tickle your funny bone. Like nerf or water fights, active games or silly challenges. You’re really only limited by your imagination. Charades, Pictionary, celebrity heads, and family performances (like putting on a play or holding a family talent quest) are also usually guaranteed for a bit of silliness and laughter!
Then there’s the cinemas. Once a month, or once every quarter, you can take your family to the movies to watch a new release comedy. The great thing about so many ‘kids movies’ is the hidden ‘grown up’ humour that so many cartoons sneak in. Sit back, relax and enjoy the good feels.
And of course, in the current day and age, we have entertainment on demand. If you’re a subscriber to a paid TV on demand service, you can literally choose to bring up a comedy movie or TV series and watch it at a time convenient. In small doses, this can be a great way for the whole family to gather and laugh together.
So get out there and look to the fun side of life!
Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), ‘Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke’. ‘Mayo Clinic Staff’. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456
Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), ‘Healthy Lifestyle, Stress Management’. ‘Mayo Clinic Staff’ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456?pg=2
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