Friday, December 17, 2010

reverb 17 - Learning about Laughter

Laughter. One of the greatest things I have learned about this past year. It is a gift, that you can give yourself.

I tried laughter yoga for the first time this past summer. I can remember walking into the first intro class, feeling miserable, and not wanting to let that misery go. It was protecting me. By the end of the class I was beaming and sweaty. I picked my misery back up shortly after the class, but oh did it feel good to put it down for an hour. A respite.

I registered for a summer class and here's what I learned.

I have an incredibly contagious laugh! It was often tough just getting there, and some days I didn't - and the other group members would be sure to tell me how missed I was, the next time I was there.

Laughter is healing. Not just in the way you think. Laughter can change the brain, and I can attest to this. I used to have a really bad startle response. Spice jars would come tumbling out of the cupboard unexpectedly (my sweetie is a very enthusiastic cook) and I would freeze. Like a deer in headlights, heart racing - incapable of words, or movement. I learned to laugh when I was startled. A bit forced to begin with, and then it became more natural. It helped to diminish the flight or freeze response drastically. And everything became funnier!

Laughter taught me to be more patient, and forgiving. If the traffic is bad, or someone cuts me off, I laugh. If I make a mistake, I laugh. This was huge for me. Everything became more manageable and I was being much less tougher on myself. Yogurt all over the floor? hahahahhaha

One of the best parts is that laughter is like a muscle, the more you use it, the less stiff it is, and moves more freely. The other is that it is incredibly contagious. Especially if you have a laugh like mine :)

Lesson learned.
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year?
And how will you apply that lesson going forward?


Shannon said...

OH, I NEED THIS - Laughter, that is. Wonderful advice.

I would be petrified of laughter yoga though - too soon. I just learned not to cover my mouth when I smile!

Emily said...

Yes! This is why I cherish the times I hang out with my mom and my sisters- we are constantly laughing about something:) Laughter really is great medicine- and I think it helps keep me sane!

Robin said...

Oh my goodness. I laughed until I cried and then I laughed through it. My sides hurt. I am forwarning you: I am hijacking this for HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY. Everyone needs a good laugh like this!!!!

Muse said...

I knew that laughter was healing, but this greatly expanded my understanding of its powers. Thank you!

Bob D. said...

I laugh at myself all the time. I wasn't 100% sure if this meant I was healthy or nuts. Now I know!

Creatively Sensitive said...

@Shannon My wish for you this year is for you to sit on your hand and throw your head back with laughter!! I bet you have a beautiful smile and I'm glad you're not hiding it anymore :)

@Emily - Isn't that energy amazing when laughter feeds off of laughter. It's so connecting!

@Robin - please do! There was this sweet couple in my class who used to watch it everyday. We would pull up AFV clips when I was having a rough day. My new fave is Walk on the Wild Side, check it out!

@Muse - It's incredible. I couldn't remember all the stats! Good for the brain, and it's an excellent workout too!

@Bob D. - The healthy or nuts is still debatable ;) And none of it matters when you're laughing really!

JessiVille said...

OMG, I cracked up 'til I cried! Wonderful!