Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking for Laughter in Portlandia

Last week I wrote about looking for laughter. Side-splitting, doubled-over, fall-off-your-chair, tears running down your face laughter.

It wasn't as easy as I hoped. Looking for genuine laughter is sort of like waiting for water to boil. It's not something you can force. While I was waiting to get my laugh on I decided to do some research. Here's what I discovered.

Kids in preschool, on average, laugh 400 times a day. Adults laugh, on average, 17 times a day.

What happens between age 4 and adulthood? Part of what happens is our senses of humor mature. Knock-knock jokes and farting aren't as funny to grown-ups as they are to kids. Umm, actually maybe I should've edited that last sentence so that it just included knock-knock jokes. Anyway, the point is, grown ups are more, well, grown up.

We're also busier. It takes time to laugh. And it takes time to put yourself in situations where you might find the funny.

My research turned up lots of opportunities to coerce laughter. I live in Portlandia, so along with organic free-range chickens, impossibly slow drivers and multi-tiered, complex recycling programs, we also have lots of self-awareness options.

There were things like laughter meditation, laugh therapy, laugh yoga and laughing clubs. While the idea of all these things made me smile I couldn't quite imagine myself attending a laughter yoga class.

Instead I focused on things closer to home, baby steps I could take while I was waiting for my pot of laughter to boil over. The first thing I did was make an effort to give myself more time to laugh. It seems counterintuitive, but I found the most effective way to do this was to clear my calendar. The freedom to accept last minute invitations, be spontaneous (while stressful to the neighborhood babysitters receiving frantic last minute texts) heightened my opportunity for laughter.

I also discovered that, while the kids and I might not laugh at the same things, they LOVE to see me laugh. In fact, my laughter is enough to make them drop whatever they are doing and come running to investigate.

If that isn't enough to make you smile then I'm almost certain the following video will make you laugh! Happy laugh day!


14 comments:

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Haha it had me at "uh huh... I make art."

I'm not hugely into stupid celebrity blogs, and am largely ignorant of pop culture, but I found this last night: surisburnbook.tumblr.com

It is so stupid but simple and weirdly hilarious-- its a mock tumblr set up by Tom Cruise and Kati Holmes creepy toddler. I know, mean. But mean is often funny.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's also more difficult to laugh by yourself.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Something stupid that makes me laugh until tears roll down my face is the website: Damn You AutoCorrect.

Of course, reading it late at night makes it even funnier.

Scarlett said...

Laughter IS the best medicine!

My son,(13)and I laughed out loud watching Elmo ~ "I make art"! Completely unexpected laughter is Awesome!

Thank you!

T. L. Cooper said...

Awesome, Johanna! I blogged about laughter twice last week (both posted on Friday) and particularly about forcing laughter into one's life... Guess you and I are kind of looking for the same thing right now. :-)

I think genuine laughter is spontaneous, but that we must open ourselves to letting it happen! It can walk up and smack us in the face, but if we aren't willing to let it happen, it doesn't.

Setting aside time for laughter... I hadn't really thought about that. Interesting idea. Of course, the idea of clearing my calendar made me gasp.

As for the laugh yoga, I'm not sure about trying it, but I think I'd like to observe... LOL!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Only 17 times a day? I'm going to start counting. And if it's true, I'm going to do something about that.

Elaine Helle said...

Dear Johanna,
Laughter is made easy on Global Belly Laugh Day, January 24. On January 24 at 1:24 p.m. (local time) smile, throw your arms in the air and laugh out loud. Join the Belly Laugh Bounce Around the World. Looking forward to catching your laughter. Your laughter is contagious.
Elaine Helle

Jenny S. Morris said...

I saw a clip on Portlandia the other day about the recycling bins, too funny.

With my husband and sister-in-law I find myself laughing ALL the time. That and my children they crack me up. Sometimes I wonder if there are adults in our house at all.

Glad you are making time for it. I know your kids probably LOVE to make you laugh.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

We had a playdate this morning. Lots of laughter all around. Elmo almost always makes me laugh. I like him on video best. The Elmo dolls can a be a bit much.

Johanna Garth said...

Lauren, that's all we've been singing for the last 24 hours

Alex, so true!

Dianne, I almost posted that site too. It makes me laugh so hard!!

Scarlett, I'm so glad you guys liked it too :)

TL, yes! Let's do a laugh yoga observation!!

Diane, isn't that sad. I've been trying to up my quota.

Elaine, thanks for stopping by. Will check it out.

Jenny, I have 4 garbage cans on my curb right now! We're such an easy target.

Stacey, I'm not usually a huge fan of Elmo but that video was sooo funny.

Connie J Jasperson said...

"When I walk the Store I still get service - no shirt - no shoes- uh huh, uh huh"

I love Elmo!

Christine Murray said...

I couldn't get through a day without laughter. I tend to see the light side, even in serious situations. It's the ultimate stress reducer. (Something about the phrase 'ultimate stress reducer' reminds me of an infomercial).

Talli Roland said...

I love laughing! Nothing made me laugh like Seinfeld, although this Elmo video comes close!

naida said...

aww...Elmos :)
I love how laughter is contagious.