Giggle, squeal, jump up and down—just because you’ve got extra energy to expend!
Why not? My six year old, the girls in her scout troop, the neighbor kids, bubble with noisy, infectious, rolling laughter. I see her eyes shining through the squinty bouts of giggling.
Sometimes, even my 11 and 13-year-old get so out of breath with excitement recounting the hilarity in the middle-school lunchroom that I think they’ll turn blue before the end of the story.
A child laughs 300 times or more each day, adults maybe 17 times a day. 1.
When was the last time it felt ok to be really silly about anything? Felt an adrenaline rush to share crazy good news with a partner, spouse, parent or even a co-worker?
It’s been a while, for me.
Actually, the last time I got crazy, unbelievably good news, I didn’t tell anyone! I just sat with it for a couple of hours, then days, until I thought I was going to burst! Then, only then, with hesitation, I deemed it ok to tell someone safe…my little sister.
Safe because she’s supportive and loving one way or another in most all confidential disclosures between the two of us but she’s also real, real honest. In her honest excitement, she cheers, and screams, sings, dances and celebrates!
Why then, if she can, didn’t I? Why don’t I? Why can’t I? At what age do we stop being honest and revealing with our emotions? Glee, victory, accomplishment, silliness, honest whole-hearted happiness, these are passionate emotions that our children can’t contain if they try, but as adults we hesitate or moderate at best.
Is it the daily grind, regular sense of responsibility or razor sharp criticism that has zapped the spark of excitement and tamed, even tarnished my sense of humor? Not sure. But where there are embers, there can be a spark and fire again! What would it take to stoke the fire and ignite a flame of wonder, a giggle, an out loud laugh and gushing tears of laughter?
Something funny, but funny can’t be forced.
There are some worthy causes, events and quite a few loved ones that spark the light inside me. Maybe I’ll start with permission to smile and laugh out loud daily, several times a day even. Go ahead and giggle can be my new affirmation. Will you try it with me?
Permission to laugh, really laugh. Laugh loud, laugh often!
Laughter strengthens the immune system, encourages deep breathing and stimulates brain function. Laughter is a cross-cultural, non-gender specific, multi-generational, globally understood language. It might start with a little giggle; hopefully the kind that can’t be controlled and soon you’re out of breath and bent over with a belly ache.
• rolling down a grassy hill sideways
• jumping on a trampoline with the kids (warning: I might pee my pants which is certainly something to giggle about!)
• stuffing mini-marshmallows in your mouth or nose -wait, that’s not such a good idea
• spraying silly string anywhere on anyone
• Laughing yoga (it’s a real practice, I promise)
Once the giggling and laughter begin to bubble, the feeling is amazing! No reason to hesitate or hold back. The very best belly laughs that come from my kids are truly contagious. The wonder, the spark of excitement in their eyes, the breathless excitement is real.
I’ve discovered that the belly-ache, laugh-out-loud, gasp-for-air moments don’t need to be contained. It’s safe (and even healthy) to be silly, to let that spark ignite the embers, to share infectious emotions, excitement and laughter every day maybe even 300 times a day…or more!
(1) The Connection between Laughter, Humor and Good Health – University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s Own