I have a few friends I worked with back in the 80’s that I seek to spend time with on a regular basis. After I left that job I saw them less frequently for a while, but we’ve recently gotten back in touch, and I’m often the one who initiates our get-togethers, for breakfast, or lunch, or the occasional party. They might think I like them and want to keep in touch, and that’s true, but I also have a selfish motive: they make me feel good. When we get together we’re loud and goofy, and laugh at jokes and sayings we’ve shared for almost 30 years, and sometimes we end up laughing so hard we can barely catch our breath. If “laughter is the best medicine”, then I’m convinced these friends are adding years to my life, and I hope I do the same for them.
I’ve never been good at maintaining friendships, and a lot of my coworkers and professional friends would be surprised to see me out with this bunch. I’m generally the one who cuts right to the chase, gets to the point in the first 30 seconds, and only makes small talk as an afterthought, but when I’m with these friends we can sit and giggle for hours, telling the same stories over and over, peppering our conversations with inside jokes and goofy puns that make no sense to anyone but us, and even we have to remind each other sometimes where a catchphrase or mispronunciation originated. I realized a few years ago that I need these friends, in the same way that I need fresh air, and water when I’m thirsty, and chocolate when I’m blue.
It’s easy get overwhelmed, and slip into a victim mentality, telling yourself that life is a battle, and the world’s out to get you. But we choose our moods, and choosing to lighten up can not only improve your mood, but improve your health. Laughter boosts immunity, lowers stress, decreases pain, and even reduces the risk of heart disease If you’re surrounded by unhappy people, those who are quick to complain about the government, or the boss, or the customers, rethink your relationships. You don’t have to dump those who drag you down (you may someday be their lifeline), but try to balance their grouchiness with other friends who have a sunnier outlook on life. Seek out those who smile and laugh, and share their good humor, and soon you’ll find yourself in a better mood. It’s good for your health, and it’s a two way street: when you’re with people who lift you up, who put a smile on your face, you do the same for them.
And appropriate for today’s post, a joke I heard today: If a man speaks in the woods and there’s no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?
Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/127945801@N07/15203863690/”>Chris G Earley</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>