Mental Wellness

7 Ways to Fill Your Prescription for Laughter

I’m feeling happier, thanks to the sun. If days had remained cloudy, what could I have done? I’ve read that in India, people have started Laughter Clubs. They get together and chuckle enough that with time they are laughing really hard. Laughter releases stress and can make us live happier, healthier lives. I like the idea of the Club, but could I laugh on cue? As a kid, my first sleepover at our place, my mom had all 6 girls lie down in a circle, each person’s head on another’s stomach to get us to laugh. We thought it was silly, but we tried it. Sure enough, within five minutes we were cackling uproariously! It would go in a wave around the circle.

I wanted to recreate that experience, in way that fits with Zoom parties. Online I found a series of activities to generate mirth in an ebook called 505 Best of Laughter Exercises. Here are 7 of my favorites that can be tried in person or online:

  1. Best Enthusiastic Fake Laugh: Each person enthusiastically performs their best fake laugh.
  2. 30 Seconds of Laughter: Laugh non-stop for 30 seconds.
  3. Happy Memories Chuckle: Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and search your happy memories from the past. When you think of one, laugh as if you were reliving it.
  4. Breath Holding Technique: Lift your arms above your head, inhaling deeply. Hold your breath as you stretch your spine bringing your arms slightly behind your head. When you can’t hold your breath any longer, burst out laughing. Holding your breath builds up pressure in the lungs and facilitates laughter. You can choose to do this exercise with your eyes open or closed.
  5. Laughter Hiccups: Begin to laugh, punctuated with a hiccup every few seconds.
  6. Namaste Laughter (aka Indian Greeting Laughter): Laugh in the Namaste position; palms together near the heart, bow slightly to each other maintaining eye contact while laughing. No speech necessary. The word Namaste means “the light in me bows to the light in you.”
  7. Omnidirectional Laughter: After the six activities above, laugh as you turn 360 degrees in a circle.

What makes you laugh? Puns? Stand up comedians? Far Side cartoons? Tell us your secrets in getting yourself to chuckle or belly laugh.

It’s Manic Monday and that’s good news! Thanks for reading and commenting. -Rebecca

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