I was going to start out this essay by calling it, "Forced Laughter" but that's not only inaccurate, it's pejorative. When I read those words it sounded as if it was phony and insincere.
It couldn't be further from reality. It really is Laughter Encouraged.
And to make the point let me direct you to "Laughter Yoga." Yes, this is a real thing.
In Laughter Yoga, which you can do without getting on the floor, the focus is on breathing through your diaphragm, followed up by saying "Ha Ha" etc. repeatedly. They flap their arms, say "Ha Ha" some more and then truly begin laughing.
Yes, this sounds insane. But I'm not making this up. Here's just one of dozens of these examples online.
In all of these, you begin by making yourself sound and breathe as if you're laughing. You smile, and you do everything you would ordinarily do while you're laughing, only you decide to laugh as opposed to being compelled to laugh when something is funny.
Making a decision to laugh is not that far afield from being compelled into laughter. And, as seen in this and other examples, there's a fine line between laughing because you've decided to laugh and laughing because you think something is funny.
Here's a great example that will help you feel not so uncomfortable while working on your "yoga laughs:"
Ever laugh at something because you were being polite? Laugh during dinner because everybody else was? Laugh because you didn't want to hurt somebody's feelings? Laugh because you heard the same joke for the eight millionth time from your Great Uncle Murray but wouldn't dream of NOT laughing because Great Uncle Murray taught you how to ride a bike?
Not so weird now, is it?
I discovered this through a yoga video on controlling anger. By the time I got to the part where the yoga teacher had you laugh, I went "ha ha ha ha ha ha ha" only not that loud or enthusiastically.
But it worked.
Make yourself laugh. Look at the video and see how easy it can be. Then shift your perspectives a little on what is "funny," which I will talk about tomorrow.
Try this. It absolutely works. And you've done it a million times already, just not this structured. So don't feel awkward. Do it by yourself the first few times...actually, just keep doing this by yourself. First time I did mine I literally scared the cat.
Talk to you tomorrow. Keep inviting your friends to the blog at acoachforyourheart.com