You’ve got to laugh—it’s good for you, and your retirement

Mature Asian female friends chatting and eating cookies outdoors

Image: Dragon Images/

It’s healthy to laugh. At the Let’s Laugh website you will find a whole list of health benefits of laughter.

These include:

  • Boosting the immune system.
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Decreasing stress.
  • Reducing blood pressure.
  • It can be a mild antidepressant.

These are benefits worth having. Each one of them.

Let’s Laugh, the website, tells us that ‘laughter is our most basic emotional response, but we aren’t taught to laugh or even to smile; they’re as natural to us as breathing’.

Laughter comes naturally, even in the direst situations. Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor who went on to become a psychiatrist, said of his experience in the Nazi death camp, ‘I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it liveable.’

Should we laugh more? Simple answer, some of us should.

If you think you have an undeveloped sense of humour, or even no sense of humour, there’s good news. The Mayo Clinic says, ‘Humour can be learned.’

Here are three suggestions for how you can do that.

1. Put humor in your life

Hang up things around your house and office that make you chuckle—greeting cards, cartoons, and photos. Watch funny movies. Read funny books. Read jokes online. These will help get you into laughter mode.

2. Laugh at your situation

If you can laugh at what’s happening to you, you’ll be less stressed. Keep in mind the saying that if you laugh the world laughs with you. That’s not a bad thing.

3. Share laughs

Now that you’re into finding jokes and things that make you laugh, share them with friends. And, of course, spend time with friends who make you laugh.

In this process, be aware of what is appropriate. Don’t be hurtful. That’s not funny.

So where’s the retirement connection? It seems that if you laugh your way to retirement you will have better health. But, thinking of Viktor Frankl’s comment, if things go bad it will help you to cope.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of

Category: Emotional Health, Physical Health

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