First watch this video: Click Here You can't help but laugh, right?!?!
When was the last time you laughed so hard your abs hurt or you couldn't breathe? That sounds painful as I type it, but truly that is the best feeling in the world, isn't it?
When we laugh so hard that time seems to stop and for a few seconds we are in pure bliss, that's when we have touched the divine.
I was reminded of this on spring break last week. As much as I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit, I told myself that my middle school aged kids are soon going to be too cool to be in the water with mom, so I better get over my issues and play with them while I can. There was a lazy river at our hotel with a section of jets that made it feel like rough rapids. The first time over the rapids, I was getting splashed and tossed. It had to be a hilarious sight and I laughed until I couldn't breathe. Then I noticed my kids were laughing just as hard - likely at their mother bouncing along - then I noticed everyone around us was laughing at us laughing. It was contagious. And it was beautiful.
Following the laughter in the rapids, as I floated along in the peaceful water with a gentle current doing all of the work so I could relax, I promised myself I would laugh like that more often.
There is clinical research now to support that 'laughter is the best medicine.' The American Psychological Association is encouraging teachers to use humor in the classroom to see an increase in academic achievement levels. Doctors are suggesting "laughter yoga" to their geriatric patients. National Institutes of Health published a study that found "laugher and humor are therapeutic allies in healing."
In 1964 Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a rare debilitating disease and was given a few weeks to live. He decided he would laugh 30 minutes a day as therapy. He lived for 26 more years. His book Anatomy of an Illness claims "10 minutes of belly rippling laughter would give him two hours of pain-free sleep, when nothing else, not even morphine could help him."
Think of the last time you experienced full body laughter. Laugh out loud at that memory. Set an intention to look for opportunities to laugh like that as often as possible. Seek out time with people who make you laugh. Watch a funny movie. Find laughing videos on YouTube. Train yourself to laugh again, treat it as a daily workout for your soul.
You can also learn to laugh when nothing is funny. When you are in a car alone, try spontaneously laughing. When you are stressed, break into loud laughter and the stress will diminish. Next time you feel you are about to snap at a child or spouse, just turn it into roarious laughter and see what happens.
If spontaneous laughing seems too difficult, start with making the sounds "ho, ho, ha, ha, ha" then repeat them while smiling, do it over and over again, this naturally leads to a laugh.
I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable. — Viktor Frankl
I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing. – Dr. Madan Kataria
As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul. — A Jewish Proverb