Be a hero at home: Make your family laugh when they could really use some humor.

American Household News.

Laughter is the best medicine. And just about every American household could use some good humor to help get through the tough days that lay ahead.

A good laugh really does relieve stress, and that's no joke - according to the Mayo Clinic. A nice giggle or hearty guffaw has all the following benefits, according to Mayo Clinic research:

  • It stimulates your organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • It activates and relieves your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • It soothes tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
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Easy ways to promote laugher at home are to simply watch funny TV shows or classic comedic films together as a family. This list of the 50 funniest movies ever is a good place to start. The late 1980s and 1990s produced several of the funniest sitcoms ever in Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers and Married With Children. These shows and their humor seem to never grow old and can be found on streaming services, Youtube and elsewhere. More family-oriented shows like The Middle, The Goldbergs and Malcolm in the Middle are great options if you have younger kids. Or you can choose an audio podcast suitable (enough) for family listening that will tickle the funnybone. Try this list from Good Housekeeping of the 25 funniest podcasts available for listening right now.

The best way to create laughter and the calming effects it brings, however, is to actually be the source of that laughter in your own homes. Kids love a funny dad! And a funny mom might even be better. The standard TV sitcom formula for the funny dad is often a hapless but lovable and loving figure, while the funny TV mom is often sarcastic and fastidious. But we're not talking about "playing a role" here. We're talking about ... just being a funnier version of you.

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Use some of these tips to up your funny game around the home. It will help keep things light, even if events outside the house might seem dark:

1. No laughing! - This works every time. Declare that it's time to be serious and "no laughing allowed." Then almost immediately start doing funny and goofy things and making funny faces so your kids and spouse start giggling.

2. Have a staring contest - The funny mom or dad always loses.

3. Make fun of yourself - Even kids understand self deprecating humor. It's often the best kind.

4. Tell a funny story about when you were a kid or a teen - Kids love imagining you in their place. Just thinking about a parent as a kid is pretty funny.

5. Joke, rinse and repeat - If a joke or a gag works really well one time with kids , you should feel free to use it again. And again, and again ...

6. Make your spouse laugh - Laughter is happiness, and making a spouse laugh is making them happy. That's a great example to set for the entire household.

7. Go ahead, learn some jokes - That's right. You need good material, but you don't have to think all of it up yourself. The internet is loaded with great resources for learning jokes. Get busy getting funnier right now.

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