After writing Emotional Hockey By Moonlight I thought about my hashtag #DontForgetToLaugh. I started doing some research on laughing and playing. I found an article by Debi Feinman “Laughter IS the Best Medicine”. She defines two kinds of laughing. Humor-laughter (a reaction to something) and joy-laughter (internal).
Let’s talk about joy-laughter.
Debi defines it as this: “Joy-laughter originates from within, is person specific and can’t be predicted. Joy-laughter feels like a flood of joy that has no other way to be expressed than through laughter. It requires no thought process, rather it is an innate expression of emotion that can be witnessed as early as infancy.”
We know children laugh and play all the time. This feeds their internal “joy-laughter”. As we grow up we tend to play less. We get more responsibility and become more serious.
This erodes our inner laughter. And “If you can’t laugh, you won’t make it.” Jennifer Love Hewitt
I know I have fallen prey. I think many people do. That is precisely why I have my hashtag #DontForgetToLaugh – because we do forget.
So how can we remember to laugh more, besides someone telling us to?
Well, what feeds the children’s inner laugh? Playing.
We need to see the value of play and do it more. I looked up the word “play” and it is to engage in an activity for enjoyment (aka fun) and recreation (aka refreshment and restoration). I found it interesting even though the general population connects playing to children there are many voices shouting its need for adults and why.
Did you know there is a National Institute For Play?
Did you know there is a Museum of Play?
I didn’t until I was doing this research.
“…play is essential…Particularly in tough times, we need to play more than ever, as it’s the very means by which we prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic.”.
Dr. Stuart Brown MD (author of the book Play)
In the midst of my research I caught myself acting on it.
What does this look like to you?
At first appearance, it may look like an ordinary piece of dirty foam and should perhaps be tossed in the garbage. But “play” transformed it. In actuality, it is what my husband uses for a kneeling pad to work. I took a break from my research to go outside where my husband was working on the sprinklers. The foam mat was sitting on the driveway. It was breezy. My husband needed it across the yard. I picked it up to take it to where he needed it and what ensued was an acting out of what I had been filling my mind with.
That foam mat suddenly became a para-sail as I hoisted it over my head, folded it slightly and acted like I was sailing away, being carried off by a strong wind.
I did it just for a moment when I felt it.
I felt the benefit of that “play“.
My insides felt the uplifting and then I proceeded to milk the play continuing to pretend I was being carried away and I laughed both at myself and with the glee of the silliness.
It felt so good.
Children often take ordinary things and turn them into other things using their imagination. That ordinary thing became an object of play for me. That “play” re-lit the pilot light to the source of my inner “joy-laughter”
“Play doesn’t have to be a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature…”
Dr. Stuart Brown MD
Play generates laughter and many other good things. Too many to add to this post. I will share more at another time. But just as there are many good things that laughter and play give us, there are ways in which we are hurt when they are missing. One website used the term “personal fragility”. That term agrees with something the Bible says: A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw
Jesus said “A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. But I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” John 10:10 ICB
“The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b NIV
If you are having some trouble allowing your inner laugh pilot light to reignite here are a couple of things to help you.
Eighteen tips to help you lighten up Here
I love to laugh song from the Movie Mary Poppins:
So when was the last time you laughed and played?
What do you like to do to play?
Have you done anything as silly as pretending a piece of foam is a para-sail?
Can I send you this?
Free download of Dare to Believe.