I enjoy laughing and would like to find myself in more situations that spontaneously make me laugh. (Well, who doesn’t!)
Just like it’s beneficial to fake smiles, the same goes for laughing. If it doesn’t come naturally, I fake it. I know I’m doing it right when I get a red face, hot cheeks, and glowing ears. Once I started faking laughter daily, doing it became easier, and I grew to enjoy it. Moreover, I experience many of the benefits of spontaneous laughing with faking laughing.
In the opening of this book, I have mentioned some of the virtues associated with laughing, but there are many more. When laughing, my breathing muscles flex and stretch effectively, and I shake my lungs intensively. In addition, laughing positively affects my blood flow, blood pressure, heartbeat, immune system, sleep, and many other aspects of my life. When I laugh, I activate my diaphragm muscle to a great extent. That strengthens my breathing system. Besides that, the pulsating deflation of my lungs when laughing gives them a ‘crimp’ and makes them more elastic.
Following a period of experimenting with fake laughter, I discovered that taking a breath hold after completing the exhaling has a much better effect on me compared to continuous laughter. Holding my breath after an exhaling, intense burst of laughter, freezes the ‘lung crimping’ and further adds to my lung flexibility.
When I laugh spontaneously, I breathe in a typical way. No two people laugh identically. So when exercising, I try to fake my own natural laughter rather than someone else’s.
There’s a cheerful branch of Yoga called ‘Laughter Yoga.’ Some practice it alone, but it has a more powerful effect when done as a group. Laughter is even more contagious than smiling. Social mirroring often occurs when a group laughs together, and the effect is augmented. What differentiates laughter breathing from ‘Laghter Yoga’ are the breath holds after every burst of laughing.
So, I allow myself to call fake laughter a breathing exercise because, when practicing, I try to be aware of my breathing, particularly when holding my breath after each ‘laughter explosion.’
How I exercise fake laughing:
- I sit comfortably with a straight back, relax my tongue and jaw, and keep my eyes open.
- Reset my breathing if needed.
- Breathe with nose inhales and mouth
- I inhale through my nose in 3 parts while smiling.
- Exhale through my mouth while audibly laughing out loud.
- Hold my breath until I gently reach the point of ‘air hunger start.’
- Repeat for a few rounds (until I get a red face, hot cheeks, and glowing ears).
In my (humble) opinion, this is the ultimate breathing exercise(!): I continue the “Ha ha ha…” until I empty my lungs deeply to get the most out of the exercise. Then I hold my breath with an ‘outward vacuum’ as if about to inhale.