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My inner critic can really get deafening sometimes. And when it is in cahoots with its worrywart accomplice, I end up paralysed by fear, and won’t take the next step that might grow or expand me or bring my gifts to the world.
Earlier this week, my mind chatter had really ratchetted up and was creating mayhem.
But when the cackle of kookaburras started up outside my back door, and I heard myself yell at them to shut up because I couldn’t hear myself think, I had to burst out laughing.
I mean, how ridiculous – this very mind-chatter I wanted to hear myself think about, was than the age-old narrative designed to keep me in the behaviour of stressing!
It was time to lighten up.
I recalled a Laughter Yoga class I had participated in a few years ago for overall well-being. It wasn’t yoga in the traditional sense, but a gathering of people who through games and activities, would practise and experience laughter.
One of the most fascinating facts I learned was that children laughed an average of 400 times a day, while adults only managed an average of 15 times.
The premise of the class was that anyone can laugh without needing to rely on humour, jokes, or comedy. It was grounded in the scientific fact that the brain cannot differentiate between ‘’fake’’ or ‘’real’’ laughter and that manufactured mirth quickly leads to real, contagious, and hearty belly-laughter anyway.
In other words, we do not have to wait until we find something funny.
We don’t even need to be with anyone in order to laugh.
We can just laugh, on our own, for no reason, whether we ‘’feel in the mood’’ or not.
And all so that we can bring about the immediate benefits to body and mind, and break our unhelpful, habitual patterns of worry and stress as they arise.
Upon remembering this, I decided to pull out all the stops this week, and play the game of laughing out loud every time I caught myself hanging on to one of those conditioned stress-inducing thoughts.
At first, whenever I began chuckling, my mind got huffy and heckled me.
‘’This is no laughing business you know, you are going to fail with your presentation, you’re going to fall flat on your face with that call, what’s the point it’s never going to go anywhere….”
I met all that with some exaggerated guffaws, which gave rise to a genuine bout of merriment as I listened to the silliness of the external noise I was creating and wondered what the neighbour might be making of it all.
‘’Are you deaf or something? You need to take this seriously!’’
More jocular shrieking from me. Because of course I was quite clear that all my ‘’serious’’ and worrisome mind chatter was based on total lies. And because the neighbour’s little dog was suddenly scratching wildly at its front door to be let in, and I had decided it feared for its life.
Now after just thirty seconds of creating my side-splitting hilarity, I noticed some things.
My whole body was ‘’bouncing’’ on the inside.
My energy was raised.
My mind felt clear and alert.
And I felt an aliveness that contrasted with the dulled sensations I had been in thirty seconds prior.
Nothing had made me laugh. I had just chosen to be laughter right there and then.
During the week, I also took the game into the bathroom and had ‘’laughter showers’’.
Have you ever tried to enjoy your shower whilst laughing your head off?
It’s actually quite comical.
I realised I could manage lots of different laughs during a shower. And that my own laughter actually cracked me up. In fact, when I got right into it, I even remembered I’m a massive snorter at heart. (Which, of course, made me do it even more.)
After these laughter showers, I felt like I’d just done a workout, and my sides and belly and cheeks ached.
Nothing had altered in my external circumstances per se.
But my energy and vibration and frequency had shifted.
And what I noticed afterwards, was that I didn’t much feel like worrying. Or maybe the worrying thoughts had got annoyed with me and gone off in a sulk.
Either way, I was standing in the result of having chosen anew.
So now you know: I’ve been a bit of a bit of a madwoman the last few days.
It’s worked wonders for breaking my pattern of habitual worry – and made for some entertaining trips out and about in the car, especially when stopped with the window down at traffic lights.
And it has reminded me that I am the source of my own giggles and happiness, whenever I want.
Sure the external world may appear to still have its conflicts, issues, and dilemmas.
But this will be the case even if I stay in stress.
Meanwhile, what does change is the percentage of me that becomes more present to the moment, more alive, more able to respond to what is true to do rather than react to what I am afraid will happen.
My capacity to sit in my creativity increases, and I am more likely to take actions that favour growth.
I don’t eat or fall asleep or vent my frustration in response to my inner tension.
And my overall wellbeing and relationships are already starting to reap some of the rewards listed in any google search you’ll find on the benefits of laughter.
So I am going to continue with my experiment and see what else it brings – I’ll keep you posted!