Not long ago, my kids and I had a discussion about laughter and the differences between a real and a fake laugh. We each demonstrated our fake laughs, “Ha ha ha” with little feeling or inflection, “heh, heh, heh” like a light breath and “aaahaa haa” drawn out real long and effortless. We continued on, even making up some other interesting ones, and ended up laughing for real!
There is definitely a different experience with a genuine laugh, but beginning with a pretend one may just result in a real one. Can you remember the last time you had a great laugh? Doesn’t it just feel wonderful? The other day I was visiting with a friend, whom I hadn’t talked to in some time. We began a normal conversation and all of a sudden something that was said, struck us both as extremely funny! I was laughing so hard, my stomach hurt, and we just kept going! We were in a public place, but that didn’t seem to stop us. I felt so comfortable, the more we laughed, the closer I felt to this person. I look forward to our next conversation.
I have written about laughter before, but I have to repeat myself a bit because lately, I’ve been noticing the energy created and the connections built within the presence of laughter. It is so much fun! And probably because laughter releases endorphins in our body, we sequentially feel a sense of comfort and calm. When we share a laugh, we allow ourselves to open up to others in a relaxed way, and seem to forget about other things for a bit ~ be it challenges or otherwise ~ and are present, enjoying the moment. This is when our best connections are made ~ when people are present! I’m not sure that it’s possible, but have you ever been genuinely laughing so hard and actually been thinking of something other than what you were laughing about? Laughing is said to be like deep breathing, “Frequent belly laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect - similar to deep breathing” (holisticonline.com). When you focus on taking a deep breath, it is difficult to focus on anything else. I believe hearty laughter works the same way.
Laughing with family and friends about memories or things we have in common; funny adventures, familiar parenting experiences, habits we have, silly words we say~ I feel more connected every time. Laughter isn’t just a trivial innate behavior ~ it is a powerful tool for maintaining social bonds!
Let out your laugh! Start out with a fake one if you have to and then enjoy as it develops into the real thing!