Do More of This

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Allison Behne

September 16, 2022
Issue: 
#636

What relieves pain and stress, improves your mood and immune system, and costs nothing?

Let me give you a few more hints.

It also stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the amount of endorphins released by your brain. And,  it decreases anxiety so your capacity to retain information expands.

Do you think you know what it is?

I imagine by the hint in the picture above that you have a good idea. The answer? Laughter.

You may have heard it before . . .

Laughter is the best medicine.
Laughing is the best form of therapy.
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
Laughter is good for the soul.

Its perks have been proven for years, and it’s something everyone enjoys, yet in the hurriedness of a busy work/school day it can often, unintentionally, be one of the first things forgotten. And, as it’s been said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” 

How can we use the benefits of laughter in our teaching and our students’ learning? Here are three ideas:

  • Plan for it. Read a funny book, tell a joke, share a funny personal story, or when a student shares a joke or story with you, ask if they would be willing to share with the class.
     
  • Notice it. If students chuckle at something, planned or unplanned, pause to give time for laughter. Point it out. Share when you find something funny.
     
  • Do it. Laughing is contagious, and when you laugh, students often feel relaxed enough to do the same. Sometimes we fear that laughing will break the focus of a lesson or cause a behavior disruption, when really it can do the opposite as it releases endorphins and decreases anxiety.

To top it all off, laughter improves metabolism, which in turn helps burn calories! So although I can’t say I believe that without laughter, “we would all go insane,” there sure is a lot to be said for its benefits. Try it this week—plan, notice, and do. You may find that it’s just what your students need.


 

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