Loralyn Mears, PhD
Monday Motivation: You Crack Me Up
This article was originally published on October 28, 2019 at https://gritdaily.com/monday-motivation-crack-me-up/
Monday Motivation here we come! We see you – coffee cup in hand, trudging through the rain on an early dark morning cursing your commute. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
This column is for those of you who slog through your Monday mornings. If you lament the end of the weekend and dread returning to the office, you may need our Monday Motivation quick tips. Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. And nobody wants to go through their day like an unmotivated, unproductive sourpuss, right?
Grit Daily offers an avenue to connect with others like you. We’re here to help get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!
Did you hear the one about … ?
We laugh less as we age. Let that sink in for a moment. This is not funny! Credible scientific research has demonstrated that humor (the more absurd the better) keeps our brains young. Hence, it’s really important to laugh at any time that we can. Monday motivation is tough enough, but finding a reason to laugh on a Monday morning? Now that’s a tall order.
Of course, life gets more serious as we get older. We have financial pressures. Plus we often have to navigate dynamic relationships with inlaws, kids, colleagues and so on. So, theoretically, we have less to laugh about.
Part of this natural phenomenon is that, as we age, we lose our ability to understand complex nuances related to sarcasm and obscure references. We haven’t lost our sense of humor – we’ve lost our ability to understand the jokes. By this phase of our lives, slapstick is funnier than ever so it’s no wonder that America’s Funniest Videos is full of slips, falls and pranks.
As far as Monday motivation goes with the directive to laugh more, watching that show isn’t going to do it for me. Personally, I don’t find those videos funny at all. Laughing at people or animals getting hurt or compromised in some way is no laughing matter. At least for me. But clearly I’m in the minority as the show is ABC’s longest-running primetime series.
“What’s the last thing that went through the bug’s mind as he crashed into your windshield? His butt.”
I have laughed at that joke ever since I was a kid. It was and still is, my favorite joke of all time. It’s snappy and relatable. I mean, who hasn’t seen bugs splat onto your windshield on a road trip? Especially if you’ve ever driven up in northern US or Canada where the bugs are as big as grapes. They really splat! And cleaning your car after a road trip like that is no laughing matter.
Warning: I’m going offside
Humans aren’t the only species to appreciate a good joke. Or to be ticklish. Rats and dogs both fall into the latter category. In fact, the more you tickle rats and dogs to make them laugh, the more playful they will be. And, in theory, age slower by playing more which is a common behavior observed in youth.
When we’re with our friends, we are 30x more likely to laugh than when we’re with other people. This is no joke! It’s true. I’ve witnessed it myself. Whenever I’m with my besties, we laugh until we cry and our cheeks hurt right on through to the next day. It is the BEST feeling!
Of course, even in the comfort of friends, religious, sexual and political jokes can – and often will – go offside. Each of our friends will have a different threshold for how far we can go offside but, even if we cross the line, it can be good for all of us. According to psychologists, laughter strengthens our relationships more than any other behavior so it’s worth testing that boundary every once in a while. 😉
“Why did Jesus quit playing hockey? Because he didn’t like getting nailed to the boards.”
Yes, I went there. I absolutely went there. And I heard you groan. I know, I know. That joke is so offside that it is cringeworthy. But, as an honest Canadian gal, the truth is that that joke has made me laugh for decades.
Tips to laugh more
There is no prescriptive approach here. No recommended cadence or frequency of how often you should laugh and when. All that matters is that you find a way to laugh more. Sure, no judgment. If having a drink or two makes things funnier, all the better. And if you need some wine suggestions, I’ve got that for you, too!
#1 – start with a smile
At the very least, crack a smile. Let that sensation of giggling reminiscent of childhood make it from your brain to your face. The act of doing so releases endorphins (our brain’s feel-good chemicals). The more you laugh, the more you release. You don’t need to be a scientist or clinician to figure out why or how that’s good for you.
#2 – let it rip
Don’t hold back. Embrace your childhood. Be free, uninhibited and just laugh. Out. Loud. Snort. Guffaw or do whatever it is that makes you feel good because you’re laughing. No matter how many times I watch them, I am reduced to tears every time that I watch the Devil Baby or living snowman scare prank videos. Or those crazy videos when people dress their dog up as an alligator to sneak up on pedestrians.
And I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get enormous pleasure out of making my big, burly stepson scream a girly scream every time that I sneak up on him. He has a terrific sense of humor so his reactions are as funny as they are positive. It’s often the favorite part of my day!
Nobody gets hurt but everyone freaks out by scare pranks and their reactions are priceless. For what it’s worth, offshore scare prank reactions typically result in a scream of “Mommy!” whereas scare pranks filmed in the USA often end with “$#%#@%$#@%$#” and sometimes, even fisticuffs! A future Monday motivation will have to focus on cursing, but that’s not a topic for today.
#3 – laughter is contagious
Once you start, you can’t stop. Neither can those around you. When my stepdaughter gets a fit of the giggles during dinner, it’s game over for the rest of us at the table. She’ll snort water out of her nose and mouth, absolutely incapable of controlling her laughter. Naturally, that sets off a cascade reaction. The rest of us start whooping it up, the dogs chime in and then there’s chaos. Followed by a big sigh and a brief silent reprieve as well all sit there feeling the effects of the endorphins circulating around our brains.
“What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down? It gets toad away.”
What makes you laugh doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that you LAUGH. And laugh often. Monday motivation signing off here wishing you a week filled with hilarity, nonsense and laughing until your cheeks hurt.