When’s the last time you had a really great, belly-aching laugh? As well as being just plain good fun, laughing has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, improve concentration and alleviate anxiety, stress and depression. People who often laugh and smile are more likely to earn more money, live longer and have better health, are found more attractive by others and have better relationships too.

But you can’t always laugh on demand! So how about some easy ways to bring more laughter and happiness into your life?

  1. Look for humour – Every day, make a conscious effort to seek out humour.  Read the newspaper, and look for funny headlines. Take a quick break at work to watch a funny video. Record a TV show that makes you laugh.  If you start looking at the world through the lens of humour you’ll find more and more of it! One of my favourite things to do is make up silly limericks.

2. Go to a stand-up comedy show – this may or may not be out of your comfort zone but try something different. Often, improv shows are simply hilarious because the actors are so proficient at working on the spot in the present moment with their specific audience. If nothing else it will lift your spirits and help you if you’re feeling stuck in some way.

3. Play more – if you have young kids play with them. Playing is something we lose touch with as we get older but children have no problem accessing make-believe, pretending and making things up. If you are not around children enough to do this then find ways to play or pretend. What about allowing yourself to spend time colouring or making something out of Lego. The main thing is to just have fun!

4. Smile more – Yes, I know: smiling is not laughing. However, smiling also has a myriad of benefits. When you smile, happy changes begin to take place automatically, both internally and externally. In addition, you can think of smiling as a warm up for laughing.

One way to remember to smile more is to have smiling cues sprinkled throughout your day. There are a number of ways to do this, including getting yourself a coffee mug that makes you smile. That way, every time you get yourself a cup of coffee you’re reminded to smile. May sound daft but it works!

5. Get a pet – specifically a dog – because – well, just look at my Oscar! When I take him for walks and he throws himself joyfully on the ground to roll in the grass that always makes me laugh.