Do you want to reduce stress and get in a better mood? Then you need to laugh. You might be saying right now that there’s not much to laugh about with the Covid-19 virus still residing in our land, political campaign ads starting to take over our TV screens, riots, racism, and the general condition of the world. You may not feel like laughing, but It is true that laughter is the best medicine. Its physiological and psychological benefits will make you feel better. I love the different expressions Dr. Clifford Kuhn, author of It All Starts with a Smile, gives to communicate humor and fun. In my YouTube channel, I give you the “Evolution of a Laugh.” Here’s how it begins.
Start with a SMIRK; it’s better than nothing. A smirk is the subtlest expression of humor known to mankind. It involves a very slight broadening of your mouth. If you can smirk, then you can certainly kick it up a notch with a smile. A SMILE is silent but can be quite profound. If you can start with that, then you can proceed through the evolution of a laugh.
Let’s trying grinning now. GRINNING is really a smile into which additional facial muscles have been recruited. Then we proceed to the snicke,r which is sort of a grin accompanied by staccato bursts of air released from your nose. Sometimes this is useful for clearing your sinuses. After the sinuses are clear, then begin to GIGGLE. A giggle combines all of the previous stages and adds a deeper, louder voice, involving your neck and chest ever so slightly. Moving up the ladder from a giggle, you will encounter the CHUCKLE, which resembles the sound of a dog whose bark is caught in its throat.
We now move to the CHORTLE, which is an escalation of a chuckle in both volume and depth. It’s a sound that originates from deep in your chest and is loud enough to fill a room. Santa Claus is another famous example of the chortle in action. Turning the dial another notch higher, you will encounter the next stage, the CACKLE. This is a laugh on pep pills, more energetic and higher pitched than its predecessor.
At last we reach the LAUGH. A laugh is an energetic and rhythmic expression of amusement that involves your head, neck, and torso. We should be feeling pretty good by this time, as we enter into the GUFFAW. When things reach this level of intensity, your entire body is involved, arms and legs. It’s loud and strong. It is NOT compatible with a full bladder. At this point you may jump into a HOWL or SHRIEK. All communicate a sense of being overwhelmed by fun. But a ROAR is a group phenomenon. Individual differences are momentarily lost. I love this next step and that is when I believe you get the most benefits from laughter. It’s to CONVULSE with laughter. Every part of your body is overcome with laughter. You have lost control completely. Chances are you are on the floor by this time. The last stage is to DIE LAUGHING. Of course, we don’t physically die but we laugh uncontrollably, and you may be even crying at this time. You have burned calories and expended all your energy, yet you feel refreshed.
This week, be intentional to laugh more. Spend time with friends, play some games, watch a funny movie, or turn the news off. This prescription is free!