Even science tells us that laughter and playfulness creates social bonds, increases well-being, reduces pain and anxiety, and can be a positive to those around us. Laughter can make people feel safer, more relaxed and more connected to those we interact with. Laughter and humor increases our capacity to learn, to be creative, to cope and deal with the difficulties of life and to create stronger social bonds. There are research studies that show that when children laugh, it enhances their attention, perception, motivation, memory, and learning. A sense of humor, laugher and play can help to also reduce depression and stress and increase our actual pain tolerance by as much as 50%. Taking time to play and laugh is a way of expressing inner joy.
Another interesting study showed that a sense of humor and a playful or fun attitude is one of the most desirable traits in a partner for both men and women. While woman tend to like men who make them laugh, men prefer women who enjoy their humor and will laugh at their jokes. Men actually ranked “sense of humor” as the most important quality in a woman, with playfulness and kindness just behind them. Brace yourself, but men actually ranked physical attraction ninth out of thirteen traits in this study.
Okay, so being playful, fun, humorous or even down-right silly can be attractive, help with stress and even depression, improve learning and creativity, and even make you feel a sense of joy more often in your life. So, why not make a point of it. Even if you are incredibly practical, rational and accomplishment oriented, knowing the value of being more playful should become even a scheduled priority on the list of all the things we are busy with. Sounds odd to schedule spontaneity, unpredictability, adventurousness and fun, but that may be what it takes to get the ball rolling with those of you that have lost that part of themselves.
Schedule those dates to enjoy your spouse and make a point about not talking about work, bills, kids or to-do lists. Having fun, playing games, doing something different together can make you closer, friendlier and happier as a couple or in a friendship. Take time out to pull a light-hearted prank or “waste” time on some enjoyable, pointless activity. The correlation between fun and happiness in a relationship or marriage is higher than you may think. Couples that can poke fun at each other, even in the heat of an argument, can feel closer – especially if it is done in love and mixed with gratefulness, compliments, affection, and just plain paying attention to the other.
Take some time with your spouse or close friend to write down a list of things you would find fun, adventurous or enjoyable to do, and then schedule some time around the things that rise to the top of the list. You might learn some things about your mate that you did not know. Laughing makes us all feel better and closer to those we share it with. Some of our fondest memories and stories usually have to do with something silly, fun and humorous that happened. If you and your spouse make having fun together a high priority, you may be surprised at how much more you enjoy each other and yourself.