In the early 90’s got milk? – an American advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of milk – was e v e r y w h e r e.
For the next 20 years until the campaign ended with a budget of over $20 million a year. Almost every celebrity tried to look sexy with a milk mustache to get us to drink milk. (Growing up having to milk our cow. And being a vegetarian/vegan for decades. Every time I saw it I just thought, that is gross, wipe your mouth but that’s just me.)
The theme of the campaign stuck and got _____? (fill in the blank) was on every bumpersticker on the car in front of you at a red light. Sometimes you laughed, sometimes you cringed.
Although I don’t think it was ever a bumpersticker. It made me think: got laughter? During the most stressful times that I have ever experienced, laughter has always somehow snuck in to help release the pressure of what’s there under the surface. The photo above is of my Father and I, after I suddenly returned home from overseas when my Mom passed away. We both went to say something to each other and schamacked (not actually a word) our foreheads together. And proceeded to laugh until we cried.
Growing up in LA, my childhood best friend and I (Hi, Michele!) would always get in trouble for giggling because once it started it just didn’t stop. (Kind of like kittens … spay & neuter please!) On our way out to the Mojave Desert one time my Mom got sooooooooo angry at us, she made us look out at opposite sides of our VW Van for the two-hour drive.
Needless to say, we giggled more than ever for the remainder of the trip.
When I was in yoga teacher training in Hawaii, one of the fellow classmates was most passionate about Laughing Yoga. She asked a few of us during a break to take part in a class so she could practice. I really needed to get other stuff done, as breaks were few and far between. And I was putting extra pressure on myself to get everything down before leaving for Vietnam. But there were only three people and they needed four so I hesitantly obliged.
The next 20 minutes consisted of the other person acting out something funny and then you laughing and switching partners. It was a w k w a r d and painful in the beginning but absolutely hilarious in the middle and end. And the four of us bonded pretty deeply over that experience.
Because of that time at YTT, a year later when I was walking around a lake in Hanoi and saw a group of elderly Vietnamese people doing laughing yoga. I immediately joined and with no need for language, laughed hard for a half an hour with my new friends. Each time I got a new person. I studied their face, their wrinkles, their eyes and smile. As we were laughing, I thought to myself, “How lucky am I to be alive and in this moment right now.”
Where can you add more laughter in your life right now?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Call up a friend that always makes you laugh!
- Watch that silly movie that you know all the lines by heart but its still funny!
- Try laughing yoga with your kids or spouse!
- Pull up all the pictures of you laughing and put them throughout your home!