Your Family Can Laugh Like This!
We don’t have to agree with how our partner is raising his/her children. Your stepchildren do not have to like you. The ex-wife does not have to like you. None of these conditions stops us from having a good laugh.
First, know that laughter is the cure for all fear. It is the antidote to fear. Many of our desires like wanting to be liked or needing to be right are steeped in deep fear. Our fears range from “I don’t want to be divorced” or “I don’t want to be ignored” or “I need to be in control”. It is hard to be thinking about these fears when you are in the midst of a big belly laugh.
Secondly, laughter is a cure to our physical ailments. Many researchers believed that the purpose of laughter was making and strengthening human connections. According to cultural anthropologist Mahadev Apte, “Laughter occurs when people are comfortable with one another, when they feel open and free. And the more laughter [there is], the more bonding [occurs] within the group.” 1 This feedback “loop” of bonding-laughter-more bonding, combined with the common desire not to be singled out from the group, may be another reason why laughter is often contagious.2
In her book, The Joy Diet, Dr. Martha Beck writes a fun chapter about the importance of laughter. Within that chapter, she sources a few places where you can get a good laugh. So, why not share these belly laughs with your family.
1. Sometimes our kids have not seen some of the classic funny movies. Here is a link to the American Film Critics 100 Films ever made: 100 Funny Movies
2. I am a big fan of the Whoopee cushion. (Works everytime) Plan with the kids to put it on Dad’s chair.
3. Ever tried Laughter (Ho, Ho, Ha, Ha) Yoga? Check it out: Laughter Yoga on YouTube. Look for a class near you.
1 Humor and Laughter: An Anthropological Approach, Apte, Mahadev, Cornell University Press, 1985.
2 http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/laughter2.htm, How Laughter Works, by Marshall Brain