Category Archives: laughter

Why isn’t Laughter Yoga Funnier?

I have been racking my brains today for the name or author of a book I read several years ago about a man who was maybe an entertainer who maybe went to a children’s home where there were children with maybe cancer living together? That doesn’t seem quite right, but I can’t quite get the details back, so I am unable to find and refer back to the book.

The only laughter exercise I remember was the intentional belly laugh. To lie down on the floor and just let loose with a belly laugh. Laugh even if there is nothing funny. Laugh and let your body experience the joy that comes from laughter. I’ve done that several different times, but not very often. It is most fun to do with Kepler. He laughs easily anyway, and his laugh is totally contagious.

When I first heard of laughter yoga, it sounded intriguing. The opportunities I knew of were infrequent and usually not compatible with my schedule. Finally, the stars aligned and we decided to try out the laughter yoga session being held at the library. Whatever I was imagining, laughter yoga as practiced at my local library branch was not it.

I think the most difficult part of the class was the expectation that we were going to look deep into the eyes of the other participants, in order to make a connection with them. This was supposed to happen without any introduction to each other, or icebreaker, or anything that might have put us at ease with one another. Not everyone was able to do this. As a matter of fact, the person I was with pretty much shot out the door as soon as the intros were over and the exercises began. Others who were there clearly had a hard time looking me in the eye.

The other difficulty was that the exercises were quite brief, so the leader’s admonition that we fake it till we make it was impossible for me because there wasn’t a relaxed sense of time, a place being created where we could each find our center, find our own genuine laughter. I guess maybe the principle in play there was that your body doesn’t know whether you are laughing for real or not (said the leader), so if you do 60 minutes of fake laughing, good enough for who it’s for!

Maybe something like that needs a few tries before one decides whether one likes it or not.

“Why do I have to be so negative about everything?” I whined to my husband the next morning (since I didn’t like the laughter yoga class). He reminded me that I’m not negative about everything, that I had been willing to respond to the email and had made and followed through on plans to try something new.

It’s a delicate balance, isn’t it. Trying new things, being unattached to the outcome, staying long enough to get a good feel for something, recognizing that time is precious and being willing to shift gears and do something else when necessary.

Laughter yoga might not be for me, at least not taught like that. But I was reminded that I DO love the laughter exercise I learned about in that man’s book. And that is a positive outcome. I can do that anytime, anywhere, and with anyone who is willing. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Tigger’s Top 15 Tiny Steps to Minimize Depression in Eeyore

Hey, depressed person who may be reading this. Thanks for reading. Try one of the things on this list TODAY. 

A. Listen to music that you LOVE! There may be more sad songs out there than happy ones, lyrically speaking, but look for songs that energize you, that lift you up a little or a lot! I took my daughter to a My Chemical Romance concert a few years ago, before I was into them, but I am now, and every time I hear a song by them, I remember the huge adventure of that concert and it just lifts my spirits. 

B. Exercise! Most people who are feeling depressed are definitely not feeling the love for getting up and getting moving. This is where the concept of having an exercise appointment comes in and can sometimes be enough motivation to get going. If it’s in the budget, get a personal trainer! Part of their job is listening to you and finding positive things to say. 

C. Medication! For me and many others, it helps tremendously. My brain knows when it is on the med that works with my brain chemistry. Lots of people are able to take it for a period of time and then wean off of it. Many others take it for the long-term. 

D. Offer yourself compassion! Depressed people are well-versed in listing all of their failures, shortcomings, mistakes, errors, blunders, oversights, bumblings, and overall general personal suckage. Try thinking kind thoughts toward yourself — the kind you would extend to a child who had just skinned their knee, or a beloved pet dog or cat. 
E. Read! Enjoy different kinds of books. Read books that allow you to escape into a fantasy world where you can use your imagination. Read books that teach you something about life. There are literally hundreds of resources to help you find books that will interest you, not the least of which is your local librarian. 

F. Watch interesting movies and television shows! This could be expanded to include YouTube videos. Trick here is not to get hypnotized by the one-eyed monster and end up even less motivated. Watching things should be done judiciously, and should bring you at least a smidgen of joy.

G. Maintain a normal day/night routine. Experiment with going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day. Seems that turning off screens 30 or 60 minutes before bed is a very good idea for your brain, which needs to settle down to sleep. Don’t check Instagram if you wake up in the night!

H. Drink some water! Eat some fruits and vegetables! Depression demands Tostitos, coke, Froot Loops, and ice cream. Yeah, that’s because Depression wants to intensify itself and junk food does the trick. Eating REAL foods helps strengthen the REAL you. 

I. Find a pal you can text when you are feeling down and let them know how you are feeling. Depression wants us to sit alone, in a dark room, and focus on how we have no friends, no one cares, and it’ll never get better. Not true. Even if you don’t feel close to anyone right now, there are a lot of people out there who would be willing to provide this type of support. 

J. Clean up something, or declutter for a few minutes. Choose one square foot to clean up, or one small task, like clearing all the trash and dishes from your nightstand. Even a tiny step like this is able to improve your mood, in many instances.

K. Spend a bit of money. A bit. Don’t impulse spend on anything more expensive than $6.34, but go shopping or even window shopping. It gets you out of the house, gives you the opportunity to greet and be greeted by another human, and shifts your state, even if only a bit.

L. Go through the door of your house to the actual outdoors. Whether it is to walk to the end of the driveway, walk or drive to the local library or coffeehouse, or just let the sunshine pour onto your head, do it. Even five minutes outside is better than 24 hours inside. 

M. Pet your cat or dog if you have one. Or even your son’s stuffed Baymax character. Baymax is soft and soothing. 

N. Laugh on purpose. Even if there is nothing funny. Lie down on the floor and just make a belly laugh occur. You’ll probably feel sheepish at first, since you know the laughing doesn’t match how your insides feel, but you will be amazed at how laughter, even fake laughter, can make a difference.

And a bonus route: Set a time for 15 minutes to get yourself started on a task, any task. Taking a shower. Washing the dishes. Writing. Walking. 

And a bonus bonus! Sometime when you feel more like yourself, create your own list of routes to minimize your depression. Seems like making choices while depressed can be extremely challenging, so make a plan in the light for the darkness that may come again.