New Year’s resolutions are supposed to make you a better person, but that’s contingent on following through. Falling short can make you feel worse than you did when the ball dropped. My resolution for 2018 was to stop using social media (while driving my car) and I still remember the January 2nd red light that broke me. Start 2019 with a resolution that is easy to stick to, will make you healthier and is scientifically proven to make you happier: laugh more.
So much of what we consume leaves us feeling worse. Cable news is an industry that thrives off making people angry and scared, and it’s never been more popular. Social media has permeated the daily fabric of our lives but usually leaves you feeling lonelier. Sure, it’s swell when Facebook connects you with an old classmate, but it’s less fun when it connects your youth soccer coach with your college roommate’s fiancé in an ever-lasting debate about climate change. Instagram is great to look at pictures of your brother’s cool dog, but it becomes miserable when someone else’s meticulously curated feed serves as a drumbeat of your own shortcomings.
We can combat this by laughing more. Walking inspirational posters might tell you laughter is the best medicine, but that’s patently false. No one is fighting a staph infection with Mad-Libs. But laughter is still scientifically proven to make you happier and healthier. The science is out there, if you’re on the fence. Laughter acts as an antidepressant, is central to relationships, forms social bonds contagiously, releases endorphins and fosters connectivity.
And when you laugh, share it with someone. When you laugh with another person, you make a real connection that is becoming more rare by the day at a time when we’ve never needed it more.
As a stand-up comedian, this is the part where I tell you that you can start this Friday and Saturday at Wiley’s Comedy Club in the Oregon District. In a world spent increasingly more behind screens, it’s a special feeling to be in a room full of people, doing something real and sharing a fun night with a group of strangers. But you don’t have to go to a comedy club to make this resolution work, just make it part of your day.
Stop taking yourself so seriously, and brighten someone’s day by sharing an embarrassing story. When you catch yourself spending too much time crafting a selfie, send the awful one to a friend. Take a break during lunch to share your favorite dad joke with a co-worker (what’s red and smells like green paint? Red paint!). Start listening to a comedy podcast while you’re in the car and start watching The Good Place on Netflix.
Looking for the funny is an active choice. There is no shortage of terrible news stories and trends to fill your life with dread. The world is also full of hilarious moments, funny stories and great jokes. You get to choose how you fill your world.
Mark Chalifoux is a stand-up comedian who will be headlining at Wiley’s Comedy Club in the Oregon District on January 4 and 5. He’s been featured on FOX and IFC and on the Bob and Tom radio show. His debut comedy album, “Think Fast”, was released in August and opened at #2 on iTunes. His jokes have been read in Reader’s Digest and heard on SiriusXM.
Wiley’s Comedy Club Showtimes for Mark Chalifoux:
101 Pine Street, Dayton OH 45402
Click the links to make reservations.