A few nights ago, I was on the phone with my mom. It was 11:30 at night and after a week of freelance work, I was pooped. The kind of tired that makes you slur like a/your drunk. It also made me spontaneously guffaw. Sure laughing while conversing with your parent doesn’t seem abnormal, but it was the context that was odd. I was getting her credit card information and suddenly a giggle escaped from my mouth. It startled me so much that I quickly covered it up with a cough. The strange incident got me perplexed until I read, “Chapter 8: Laughter” of Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet.
According to Beck, we should be hee-hawing and guffawing 30x’s in a day! Laughing clears the tension, unclogs feelings of anxiety and brings you closer to a more authentic life. Since I made that leap from corporate cubicle to work-at-home freelancing, however laughing is harder to come by. I think my unexpected chortle a few nights ago was the result of my soul not getting its daily shot of laughter.
This exercise got me reminiscing about my earlier laughing years. While it was not always fun and games, I remember chuckling quite often. I once laughed and could not stop laughing for no real reason (laughing strategy 5) when my dorm mate was taking a nap. Another time, I cracked up when as a band leader (yes I was a band geek), I forgot everyone’s music in my section. We faked it the entire performance! And there have been thousands of times I laughed at myself (laughing strategy 6)-when I fell down flat on my face or when I took belly dancing for the first time and saw how dumb I looked trying to shake my belly. Beck says we laugh at the most anxiety provoking times, which explains why we sometimes burst out in laughter at the most serious moments. My cousins and I couldn’t stop laughing, for example, at our grandfather’s funeral. We weren’t trying to be disrespectful. I think the emotions were too intense for our young selves and laughing was the best remedy.
Nowadays laughter seems to seep out in surprising places especially when I don’t make the time for a good guffaw. How many of you are doing the same? Taking life just a bit too seriously and not taking fun and laughter seriously enough?
When I thought about the “dramas” in my life the last few weeks and saw it through the eyes of humor, I felt the weight lift from my shoulders. My ‘aha’ moment was realizing that almost nothing was so serious that I couldn’t laugh my way out of.
Try it for yourself.
The good news is laughing is fun, it does not take money and is not hard.
- Make a point to spend time with funny people, watch movies, television shows, read books and articles to make you laugh and see if you find the solution to a pressing problem, feel less heavy and closer to feeling more joyful.
Get started with this: