Believe it or not, laughter therapy is a real thing. And it’s just what it sounds like, therapy that uses techniques to make someone laugh. "The body cannot tell the difference between simulated laughter and spontaneous laughter," explains laughter therapy teacher Francine Shore. "It's still going to release all the feel-good chemicals—dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins—and you get the same physiological and psychological health benefits."
Here’s what this laughter therapist advises to enjoy a life filled with happiness:
- Start your morning with gratitude - Before you even brush your teeth, write down three things you’re thankful for. Physically writing down these positives helps you face the day feeling more content and less bitter.
- Smile - The simple act of smiling can trick your mind into feeling happier, your body even releases endorphins when you smile, says Shore.
- Take a deep breath - This technique is easy, but spending a few minutes just breathing deeply can boost your mood.
- Get outside - Happy people spend time outside regularly. Shore says it can heal and awaken our senses, as well as reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. So go for a walk around your neighborhood or head to the park at lunch and appreciate all that natural beauty in the world.
- Wear bright colors - Happy people are into color therapy, even if they don’t realize it. Adding a pop of color to your makeup, clothing, or even your desk at work can “enhance creativity, productivity, and encourage positivity” Shore explains.
- Volunteer - Doing something selfless for others can help us become more compassionate and helps us develop a sense of joy and community, Shore explains. "It's a great way to get you out of your own head when you're feeling blue,” she says, “to take the focus away from yourself and place it on someone else."
- Hug a kitty - Or a puppy, if that’s more your thing. Playing with pets makes us happy, plus it can help lower blood pressure and have a calming effect.
- Watch something hilarious - Becoming a happy person doesn’t have to be so serious. In fact, Shore advises doing whatever you have to to keep laughing as much as possible. So if funny cat videos crack you up, keep watching them and you’ll be a happier person.