The first doctor to suggest that humor helps heal was probably Henri de Mondeville, a professor of surgery in the 1300s, who promoted the use of humor for post operative patients. Norman Cousins has written about his use of laughter to overcome serious illness. Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician in Mumbai, India, came up with the concept of Laughing Yoga in the 1990s, a yoga practice that involves prolonged voluntary laughter. He believed that even learning to laugh on cue strengthens immune function, increases energy and helps you better manage hardship.
"Finding humour in stressful moments allows you to separate who you are from what you do," says Lois McElravy, who runs workshops on humor. "You may have done something stupid, but you’re not a stupid person.” We all do stupid things sometimes simply because we are human. Learning to laugh at ourselves instead of getting angry or judging our behavior decreases feelings of inadequacy and actually encourages positive change. (Please note that ridiculing laughter directed at another person in order to belittle them is a form of anger, not humor.)
Whether you like to watch comedies or animal antics, find ways to increase laughter in your day and notice how it affects your sense of wellbeing. Mel Brooks once said that "Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you”, so just keep your eyes open.