A few days ago, some people in my laughter class were discussing how they were told to be quiet as children, and that they were not allowed to laugh loudly. Or, they were allowed to laugh, but only to an acceptable noise level, or what was deemed socially acceptable. It got me thinking…. How many people in the world cannot simply laugh freely and express themselves joyfully?
We all utter different sounds when we laugh and that depends on the conditions we find ourselves in and how we feel we can express ourselves. Most of the time, we are very restrained and contained conforming to society’s norms and rules. The wonderful thing about practising Laughter Yoga is that we can break free, and simply laugh for no reason and be truly ourselves. We explore many different types of laughing together, from Silent Laughter, which means you are laughing on the inside and only your eyes express how you are feeling. To the Bursting Laughter, where we can contain ourselves no longer, and a laugh explodes out of our lips to our great surprise! To the open chested, open armed Hearty Laughter where we raise our faces to the sky and laugh loudly for everyone to hear!
When you do allow yourself to laugh, what sort of laugher are you? Do you cackle and chortle? Do you giggle like a girl? Do you have a good belly laugh and guffaw? Have you got a horse laugh? Or, do you snort or snicker? We are all unique in how we express ourselves. I challenge you, why not loosen up the tight grip you have on yourself, and let the Real You out. Remember yourself before you had the troubles of the world on your shoulders, before you had to be a “serious adult”. Remember yourself as the joyful, playful child self who enjoyed adventures, was delighted by Life and could easily express themselves and what they wanted.
It is fascinating that when we hear the sound of someone laughing, we smile, and often join in with laughter of our own. At this point the brain triggers the amazing hormones and chemicals which flood our bodies with the wonderful ‘joy cocktail’ instantly giving us a feeling that for that moment we are not alone, we are connected to someone, our attention is taken away from any worries we feel, and any pain in our bodies is eased by our natural painkillers (endorphins). For a few seconds we feel good to be alive, as we tune in to the sound of laughter. Every time we allow ourselves to make the sounds of laughter, we are helping someone, somewhere to feel better. Isn’t that amazing?
Let’s find our sound of laughter, right now! All you need to do is to stop what you are doing for a minute or two, close your eyes, put your hands over your ears and begin with a smile. Think of a time when you were happy, infact, when you were laughing your head off, and allow this memory to seep into your body. Start off by visualizing a smile on your belly that gets wider and wider as you remember this happy time. Feel your belly wobbling and allow a little sound to move into your throat, feel this sound vibrating in your voice box. Hear the sound you make when you are remembering a happy time in your life. Smile and laugh to yourself till the memory fades. Finish with humming your favourite song. Your brain has flooded your body with the ‘joy cocktail’ and you have given yourself a dose of Joy! Give yourself a pat on the back and laugh a little more. Very good! Very good! Yey!