“Look Mom, this water bottle has a description. The water is described as ‘mouth-watering water,” said Porter with a chuckle. “This water calls itself smart, but I’m not sure that description seems very smart,” he added.
This was too much for me. I completely broke down into a laughing attack over this ridiculous notion that this water I was drinking was so good because it was “mouth-watering.”
After I couldn’t stop laughing, then all my children and their friends who were visiting broke into laughter that lasted about 15 minutes. Following our group laugh attack over the water, other silly stories were shared including one of our favorite books, “A Triune Tale of Diminutive Swine.” Then more and more laughs…
Laughing draws people in and makes them feel comfortable and part of the group. It was especially good that we ended up having so many laughs that night because we had a new visitor staying with us for the weekend and we needed to get to know him.
Having a laugh with a person creates a memory that is stored deep inside. It immediately creates a bond with the other person that opens the door to friendship. Laughing ultimately leads to improved relationships and better personal outcomes. So, how can we have more laughs with the people we love?
Jane and Michael Learn To Laugh
Do you remember Uncle Albert from Disney’s Mary Poppins? Jane and Michael are taken unexpectedly to visit their nanny’s old Uncle Albert. They are told that Uncle Albert is sick and needs help. This situation immediately makes Jane and Michael feel nervous about visiting the older gentleman, but soon Jane and Michael see that Uncle Albert’s sickness is unique. He is floating on the ceiling because he is laughing so hard. Before they know it, Jane and Michael are part of the fun and laughing along with Uncle Albert. Only when they realize that they have to go home do they all get sad enough to cure Uncle Albert and bring him safely back to the ground.
Jane and Michael fell in love with Uncle Albert and hoped to see him again soon because they laughed with him. Mary Poppins introduced Jane and Michael to many other happy people who gave the children things to laugh about and sing about. These connective experiences were in stark contrast to the disconnection they often felt from their very busy mother and father.
In the end Jane and Michael reminded their parents, especially their father, that life and the people in life should be enjoyed, and that laughs are healthy and lead to understanding and good relationships. The bank president, the most unhappy person in the movie, even ended up laughing uncontrollably like Uncle Albert.
Why Laughing Changes Relationships and Outcomes
Humans, unlike animals, laugh as a part of social bonding. There are multiple reasons that a person might laugh, such as feeling embarrassment, delight, or mirth. Even though we can’t always pinpoint the moment that a person will laugh, we know that laugh shows connection to a person or a group and that we are more likely to do it when we are with other people.
Think of a comedian bringing a whole group to laughter at the same moment in a crowded auditorium. How does she do it? We can learn some valuable lessons from comedians. In fact, some things comedians do to help bring us to laughter can help us bring laughter into all of our relationships and help us experience more bonding and unity as well as improve our personal outcomes.
It’s true; when we are happy, we are more productive. A happy and united work environment is a productive work environment. Life completely transforms when laughter is part of each day at home or the office. After all, laughter might very well be one of the most contagious emotions.
How To Have More Laughs
These are five key ingredients to good, funny humor.
1. Honesty. One of my favorite Disney children’s books was called “The Princess Who Never Laughed.” Even though many people tried to make the princess laugh, she wouldn’t laugh. Then, one day she saw one of her servants trying to carry a cow home on his shoulders, in all earnestness, so that he wouldn’t lose it. She started laughing so hard that she couldn’t stop.
Just like this silly servant, the best comedy is not forced or attention-seeking, but it’s honest and authentic. The “mouth-watering water” comment could have meant nothing to most people, but to me it was so funny that I couldn’t get over it. The joke on the water bottle was honest, obvious, and authentic. That’s what made it so very funny.
2. Desire to be happy. Grumpy people don’t laugh because they are focusing on being grumpy; it’s not because a joke or circumstance isn’t funny. Grumpy people don’t laugh because they don’t want to be happy or have a laugh right then. Even less-than-perfect comedy can bring a laugh if a person wants to have a laugh and see the humor. Think of listening to a comedy act. If you are there with an attitude that says, “see if you can make me laugh,” then you likely won’t have many laughs. But, if you go to the comedy night with an attitude like, “I can’t wait to hear or see something funny,” then you will for sure see something or hear something that makes you laugh.
3. Focus. People who laugh more talk to each other more and listen to what other people say. Think of how many missed laughing opportunities people have who don’t listen to and watch what’s going on around them.
4. People are vital for laughter. Laughing is about socially bonding. When something is humorous and you are all alone, you likely chuckle or smile, but don’t have a good belly laugh. But, when you are talking to and looking at people, then when that same funny moment happens or joke is shared, you laugh right out loud.
It’s as if we recognize a good bonding moment and don’t want it to pass us by, so we instinctively share it with the other people around us by looking at them and laughing.
Laughing is contagious and healing. Since laughter releases healthy endorphins that make us feel good, as well as improve our immune systems and overall health and lead to bonding, we should live in a way that invites more laughter. If we laugh more, we will not only end up healthier, but we will also build good relationships.