Saturday, February 03, 2007

The best medicine

I’ve been planning to jump aboard the Smart Habit Saturday bandwagon for a few weeks now, but when I stop to consider the many many MANY goals I’d like to set for self-improvement, I’m overwhelmed. I know Lara’s philosophy is to take one small thing at a time and follow through with it, but my natural tendency is to go for the total overhaul or nothing at all. So every week, I’ve watched the bandwagon roll past – full of smart, habit-formers – and I wave. “Catch y’all later!”
Leonardo Da Vinci (from sketchbooks)
This week I’ve been thinking about laughter. I’ve also been admitting to myself that I rarely laugh. Sure I find things amusing and I try to be amusing myself. But how often do I really Laugh Out Loud? Literally. My husband has commented that I don’t seem to enjoy comedies. But the truth is that I do enjoy them. I just do it in a silent, self-absorbed kind of way. My sense of humor bubbles below the surface and I manage to keep it all to myself.

My kids laugh. They think air is funny. They even sit around my laptop with me and get all hysterical over my blog entries. Ethan tells me it’s “the funniest blog ever” and then he says (with all the sincerity of a child who has never seen Misery) “I am your number one fan”.

I know my kids laugh because their happy noises only have one volume setting: ear-splitting. Boy laughter is inevitably linked with loud, raucous chasings through the house or explosion noises and flying Lego. It comes in bursts of wild abandon. And, frequently, it escalates rapidly to non-funny injuries. Perhaps this is why I find myself so often yelling at them to “just stop being so GOOFY!”

But I know that laughter – real, physical, shaking of the gut laughter – creates endorphins which in turn make you happier. (Side note: did you know the study of laughter and its physiological effects on the human body is called gelotology. Does this mean that the study of what happens when gelatin makes you laugh is called Jello gelotology?). Anyway, I know that I could truly benefit in many ways from adding laughter (and apparently more Jello) to my diet. Most importantly, the kids need to see me laugh more. They take their emotional cues from me. They know before I do when I’m grouchy or upset. All I have to do is let out a single *sigh* and McKay asks me what’s wrong. Why can’t my mirth be contagious too?

So this week I’m setting a goal to laugh every day. I’m going to giggle and snort and chortle if it kills me. I want to develop the habit, even though for now I may have to consciously let out a good hearty fake guffaw now and then.

I’m also refuse to be deterred by how pathetic it is that I have to actually set a goal to laugh.

The best news is that I’ve already gotten in my dose today. At breakfast, Nora was crawling around and we noticed she was blowing a huge snot-bubble out her nose. I joined the boys in relishing the moment of hilarity. Even Nora looked up to admire all our silliness and she grinned a huge, tooth-less, bubble-faced, “man, you guys all look ridiculous!” grin. And we laughed some more. And it felt good.


Kimberly said...

It's not pathetic! I used to be a non-laugher as well, but I married an incredibly gregarious and jolly man whose mirth is very contagious, and now I giggle and guffaw with the best of them.

I am kind of disappointed that the title of number one fan has already been awarded. When's the next election? I want to run!

Radioactive Jam said...

Now see, that "Misery" line made me laugh out loud. And I wasn't even trying.

I can only assume you were; thanks.

meno said...

I don't laugh much either, but i never thought much about it before. I do find things funny, but not often laugh-out-long funny.

When i was much younger, someone told me it was arrogance that took my laughter. But i don't think it's that simple.

A serious subject.

An Ordinary Mom said...

The SMART Habit Saturday bandwagon is at least going to get its fair share of laughs on the weekends when we get to read your posts!

My family is also telling me I should laugh and be silly more. Keri has ranked the four of us in order of silliness and I come in dead last. Maybe I need to set a new habit of ligtening up.

Good luck this week ... I expect to hear your deep guffaw from a few states over!

scribbit said...

I don't know . . . there are a lot of advantages to playing the straight man (my designated role around here) I'm called upon to "do something funny" much less than my husband is. And we all know how exhausting being funny can be. :) I figure someone has to be the straight man and it might as well be the one with the sense to know when to quit--sometimes the men of the family can't tell when a joke's gone too far.

Rosie said...

Laughter is always good. As Mommy's I think that we just get tired. Sometimes they are funny but we are thinking too far ahead at the mess the fun is creating. Good luck!

Jane said...

I need to laugh more too. Probably everyone does. I am lucky to have a classful of lunatics to keep me laughing. I just have to as Rosie said, "stop looking ahead at the mess" or in my case wasted time instructional time.

Lianne said...

Laughter is my middle name, and I do believe it is therapeutic. But hey, if you can laugh at snot bubbles, you are well on your way to some intense laughter therapy.

Thanks for visiting my blog... and I'll be back here

compulsive writer said...

Hi--I think we frequent some of the same blogs, so I dropped by to check out yours. I like what I read here and I can so relate (I labor over grammar in every e-mail and your profile list of what you should be doing instead of instead of typing pretty much validated my existence).

Snot bubbles are right up there with sneezing peas out your nostrils when it comes to good material for a laugh. Way to go!

Andrea said...

Sounds like you are well on your way to a week of laughter. What a great habit to have. Hope it's a happy week.

The Lazy Organizer said...

I rarely find anything funny but when I do I'm a laugher-out-loud. It's your fault that I giggle during my bench press at the gym as I'm listening to Wait Wait. I can not help myself!

My nine year old clown sure wishes I had a sillier sense of humor.

Try to have fun with your habit this week ok? Don't hurt yourself.

Ann Kroeker said...

I think it was Heth over at UndertheLaundryPile who posted something about being more fun, and I thought about that for a while. Then I read your post and had to think about how often I laugh.

I generally think of myself as pretty fun. I thought I laughed a lot. But I tried to monitor myself and gauge my laughter/fun levels. I discovered, sadly, that they're kind of low these days, which I find sobering.

And of course that's the exact opposite reaction I'd like to develop.

Last night was fun, however, when the Colts won the Superbowl! I'm not a huge sports fan, but I *am* a lifelong Hoosier. Last night after the win, we all laughed and danced and pretty much shot the fun gauge through the roof. It's a good week for us here in Indianapolis to practice fun and laughter!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

If we all LOL'ed, ROFL'ed, and LMAO, as much as we type out on the computer, we'd belong in some sort of mental institution. Or Funny Farm, where life is beautiful every day.

You know what? "Romantic Comedies" just don't do it for me anymore. The last time a movie made me nust a gut laughing was Adam Sandler's "Click." Maybe we mature and things just don't seems as funny as we age. How many times have you gone back to watch a childhood favorite movie you remember as being funny and you think, "Man, this really blows. How could I ever have liked this??!!?" That is constantly happening to me! However, while I roll my eyes, my kids love it. Isn't that funny?

P.S.- I usually laugh out loud at the wrong time and for inappropriate things.

Anonymous said...

That is such a fun goal!!

Becky said...

I don't think that it is pathetic at all to set a goal to laugh every day. After all Laughter is the best medicine! I wish you luck with this goal this week! We all need to vow to do this, too! Glad you joined in! Have a great week!

Heth said...

Good reminder, I needed that. I think I must have missed that bandwagon too. There is nothing quite like a laughing fit that makes you cry, I sure wish it happened more often.
Quick somebody, do something funny!