Do you laugh out loud?

I've never been a loud laugher.  I appreciate good humor and get great satisfaction out of being around amusing people.  One of Kevin's great strengths is his ability to make me laugh.  By laugh I mean smile and make some sort of happy sound in the back of my throat.  But I want to be a real laugher.  I do.  I think people who laugh like they mean it make the world a better place for themselves and those around them.

I want my children to be laughers, too.  I've started hearing my own stifled sort of "laugh" coming from Jack lately, though, and when he does laugh out loud it often sounds forced.  I want to teach my children to laugh like they mean it when things strike them as funny, and not be ashamed to make a joyful noise.  It seems like this, as so many other things in motherhood, is something best taught by example.  I need to be a good laugher.

But how does one go about getting better at laughing out loud?  There is always the laughter therapy option:

But this just seems ridiculous. (but sort of fun, too=)

So instead (and this is pretty ridiculous too, actually) I've started to practice laughing around my boys.  When something strikes me as funny (like a joke about a chicken who crosses a bridge then it falls and he grabs onto a blanket so he won't fall into a volcano and then a ladder comes...good one Tays) rather than smile and do my typical "laugh," I laugh out loud.  "HA, HA, Ha, Ha, ha, ha!"  My boys look at me in stunned amusement and I feel a little self-conscious, but then I really do start to genuinely laugh, because of their expressions and because I feel silly and they laugh with me. 

And it is actually working!  Lately, when Kevin says something funny, I really do laugh.  Out loud!  This is something I've been working on for a few weeks, though I didn't admit it to anyone.  But when I brought it up to Kevin he said he really had noticed.  It's really fun to see the joy on his face when he makes me laugh.

There is also a really great bi-product associated with this effort.  I actually enjoy my life more.  I love laughing with my boys. I love hearing an unforced burst of audible, genuine laughter come from myself.  When I'm laughing, I really am happier.  I know this seems like a no-brainer, but who would have thought that forced laughter could bring genuine happiness?  According to Tipping Point (the book I'm currently reading and part of the reason I decided to try this) it actually can.  It says:

"...if I smile and you see me and smile in response --even a microsmile that takes no more than several milliseconds-- it's not just you imitating or empathizing with me.  It may also be a way that I can pass on my happiness to you.  Emotion is contagious.  In a way, this is intuitive.  All of us have had our spirits picked up by being around somebody in a good mood.  If you think about this closely, though, it's quite a radical notion. We normally think of expressions on our face as a reflection of an inner state.  I feel happy, so I smile.  I feel sad, so I frown. Emotion goes inside out.  Emotional contagion, though, suggests that the opposite is also true.  If I can make you smile, I can make you happy..."

By forcing laughter, I'm not only forming a habit that is coming increasingly more naturally, but I'm making myself and my little family happier in the process.  I highly recommend it.

PS. If you live close by, the Orem Fire Station is having their annual open house tomorrow from 10-7.  We've gone for the past two years and my boys love it.  More information here.


  1. I'm a loud laugher and I think it honestly does make me happier! Glad it's working for you. :)

  2. I was made fun of, in a congenial sort of way, for how loud I laughed in high school and throughout college. I'm glad you're getting there, too, 'cause it's fun.

  3. I have never ever thought of "teaching" my sons to laugh better...but why not! My husband loves it when I laugh at his jokes. He says it really helps his ego.

    That's a great book. I've read all of Malcolm Gladwell's books and loved them. Very thought provoking and interesting. (I hope I'm remembering his name right! ;)

  4. I am loud. In general. Therefore, I am a loud when it comes to laughing as well. My boys...yea, they are loud too. Glad to hear your new approach is working for you. Keep on laughing:)


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