August is upon us and all the lightness that the summer can bring is in full force. In celebration of the season I thought it would be great for us to add fun into our daily practice. Three of the best ways I know how to have fun are through laughter, music and dance.
Laughter has so many benefits! Not only do we feel happy when we genuinely laugh, but it can help us heal and it helps us connect to one another without speaking.
Have you ever been with a group of people and someone starts laughing and you can’t help but also laugh even if you don’t know what is funny?
We often hear he expression “Laughter is the best medicine.” Here are some health benefits: (from the Mayo Clinic):
• Relieves stress
• Stimulates your heart and lungs
• Increases endorphins
• Soothes tension
• Improves your immune system
• Relieves pain
• Improves coping skills
• Improves mood
Musical taste is a very personal thing but music changes us all emotionally. Psychologically speaking, a particular piece of music can evoke specific feelings every time we hear it. We also share common responses to certain music. We barely notice the music in a movie, for example, but it is there to create a mood that we feel universally.
Singing is especially great for us. When we sing we:
• Release ‘feel good’ endorphins
• cultivate creativity
• strengthen our lungs and other muscles
• reduce anxiety and stress
• increase concentration and memory
• reduce anger
Dancing is something that we all love, or loved at one time! Just put on a piece of music around a bunch of 3 year olds and see what happens! It has been a part of human existence since prehistoric times. We use it is a form of expression, celebration and ritual.
Movement is great for our bodies, minds and souls. Dance has all the physical benefits of exercise; weight loss, better coordination, balance and flexibility, stronger muscles and good heart health.
But dancing also has great emotional benefits and you don’t have to be good at it to get them! It lifts our mood which can reduce depression and anxiety, it releases endorphins which reduce stress and pain, it cultivates creativity, it helps us feel playful and free, and it can boost confidence and self-esteem!
Here are some suggestions to cultivate laughter, singing and dancing into your daily life.
• Go to a comedy club
• Watch your favourite sitcom
• Read the funny pages/cartoons
• Tell a joke
• Have a tickle fight
• Make a playlist
• Pick a theme song
• Sing in the shower
• Sing in your car
• Join a choir
• Go see a musical
• Go to a concert
• Dance in your kitchen
• Take a dance class
• Go to a night club
• Dance at a wedding
• Dance in the supermarket aisles
Whatever you choose to do, have fun!