I’m told that children under the age of 5 laugh about 300 times a day. As we get old we laugh less, which is sad isn’t it? Most adults, on average, laugh about 10 times a day, and that’s on a good day. I guess most of us were told to “grow up” or “act your age” or “don’t be silly.” Most of us have learned well that we’re supposed to act like grown-ups.
Research tells us that laughter releases certain chemicals in our bodies that are good for us. So, it follows the more we laugh the healthier we’ll be and maybe the longer we’ll live. It seems that the same good chemicals are released when you laugh because something is funny or when you just fake or pretend to laugh.
That is the thinking in a program called 'Laughter Yoga' and I saw it first hand today. Barbara Roberts is the librarian at Pelham Public Library and she and some of her librarian friends went to a librarian conference recently and learned about Laughter Yoga. I always wondered what librarians do at librarian conferences. Laughter Yoga requires deep breathing, relaxation and laughter, fake or real. Today I watched as senior adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s put on pink and green sunglasses and, well mostly just acted silly. They pretended to jump in mud puddles, they opened up umbrellas indoors, and laughed like Henny Youngman had just delivered one of his classic jokes.
Do you know what happened? In a little while the fake laughter changed to real laughter. When a group of 30 people start laughing and laughing hard and just acting silly it spreads like wildfire. Pretty soon everyone, including me, was just laughing at each other. There was one 99-year-old lady that was acting like a 9-year-old girl. That it seems to me is a good thing. Everyone checked “act your age” and “don’t be silly” at the door.
This was a good day and Laughter Yoga will be a good Spirit of Alabama story soon. Being there reminded me to never spend too much time alone. It’s good to be around people, touch them, laugh with them and at them and let them laugh at you. Laughter just might be the best medicine after all.
By the way, my favorite Henny Youngman joke is, “I told my doctor I broke my leg in two places…He told me to stop going to those places.”
See you tonight at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.
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