Give Yourself a Laughter Lesson!
March 16, 2010 4 Comments
I need a good laugh. It’s been that kind of day. Actually, it has been that kind of 3 or 4 years. Have you ever been at a time in your life when you look back at your younger self and think, “What happened to the carefree, fun person I used to be?” Or, maybe, like me, you have teenagers who are all too glad to point out what a stodgy killjoy you can be. “Get a life!” my daughter has said. Well, I used to be fun and interesting. I used to have a life. And then I had kids.
No, I won’t blame my kids. In fact, they have brought much joy and laughter in my life (just not so much recently!). Being around small children can be quite a mood lifter. They laugh so easily and often. I’ve heard it said that on average, children laugh 400 times a day, while adults laugh about 15 times. I’ve tried to track down the source of the 400 times a day number and I can’t—it appears to be of dubious origin. However, I don’t think it is any secret that children do laugh more than adults.
As we grow older and experience more of life, are we dragged down by the burdens of life, the baggage we psychologically carry? At the same time, do we repress our emotional expressions, limiting extremes of happiness and sadness as a way of being “adult?” Whatever the reasons, life is better with laughter! The mere act of laughing can be a great mood-lifter.
A few years ago, in a Toastmasters club meeting, one of the older members did an impromptu speech on “Laughter Lessons.” The part of that presentation that remains forever in my mind is when he spent 1-2 minutes encouraging us all to laugh out loud. He started off, with hearty laughter. Then, a few others made tentative laughs. Soon, the entire group was hooting and howling with laughter, some even slapping their knees. People had a great time laughing at nothing in particular (well, actually some of the people did look and sound pretty funny). After his presentation, everyone was smiling the genuine eye-twinkling kind of smiles of pure enjoyment. I remember feeling jubilant–All from this simple, social laughter.
Later that same day, just for fun, I tried it in the privacy of my car, parked, of course. Laughing hysterically and driving is probably more dangerous than texting and driving. And, if a cop stopped me, I can only imagine the look on his face if I said, “Officer, I was just practicing laughing. . .”
Guess what? It worked. Even all alone, my mood lifted after only about a minute of laughing. I felt happy and energized and ready to take on whatever life brought my way. Since that day, I’ve occasionally practiced laughing before going to a meeting or presenting a talk. I walk into the room with such positive energy that the niggling self-doubts cower in awe of my upbeat attitude.
I dare you—give yourself a laughter lesson and see if it doesn’t make a difference for you!
So, let us giggle, grin, guffaw and howl, roar with laughter, snicker and snort . . . Let us reawaken the inner child. Laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more!
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. — e.e. cummings