Laughter is a key to generate positive energy. Physically, muscular tension loosens clearing wreckage of exhaustion; Emotionally, laughter raises your spirits and softens rigid defenses. Subtle energy-wise, your system is filled with positive vibes which ease all that ails you. Studies abound lauding how laughter heals: it elevates immune response and endorphins (our body’s natural painkillers); relieves stress, anxiety, and depression; prevents heart disease. Imagine: Allergic welts shrank after patients watched Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times.” Physician Norman Cousins, beloved father of laugh therapy, treated his own pain from a life-threatening joint disease with a ten minute daily dose of laughter.
I’m a big prescriber of laughter in Energy Psychiatry. Not the contrived or canned kind, but laughter from the soul. Just as I guide patients, I’d like you to sense when your funny bone is legitimately hit, an energetic place that resonates. True laughter is a surrender to hilarity; a sound, a smile, a heart opening. You feel it in your chest, or your whole body may shake. Also, notice that prior to a joke, there’s an air of expectation, a subtle shift in consciousness and attention, the promise of mood transformation. But faking laughter is like faking orgasm; no positive energy to be had there. Since I’ve never gotten most conventional jokes, I know the awkward position of hating to fake a smile but being afraid to offend or seem clueless. Now I just make a joke out of my not getting it: that feels more authentic and relieves me of the negative fallout of pretending to be something I’m not.
Energy comes from humor. However, each of us, even the crotchety, must locate our sense of what’s funny, raucous or wry. Although jokes often elude me, I really respond to the spontaneous comedy of life itself. I get a huge kick out of quirky little things. Children squealing as they pop bubble wrap. Or when I look back at the night I once took a sleeping pill, then hallucinated that my mattress was trying to communicate with me! As for those jokes I do get, I love the middle eastern Nasruddin stories. He’s the legendary mystic trickster-sage (to whom numerous websites are devoted). It was once told that when Nasruddin left home he’d carry the front door with him. When asked why, Naruddin replied, “It’s a security measure. This door is the only way someone can get into my house so I keep a close eye on it.” Of course, now the place is wide open! I’m always tickled by such gentle, victimless satire of our human fears.
Intuitively I can read from a patient’s energy field if they’ve been regularly laughing. Jillian, a free spirit florist who often chuckles has a light quality to her energy with lots of space between the molecules that surround her. I can sense this levity from many feet away. Fred, a thoughtful but emotionally repressed scientist, wants to laugh more but has yet to learn how. His energy field gives off a tautness, conveys a ponderous thud. I also sense an invisible skull cap compressing his head, especially the intuitive center. When patients laugh in sessions, it feels like joy-as-energy showering me and my office; these vibes linger for hours. And unlike traditional Freudian analysts who perhaps too fastidiously temper their responses, I don’t hesitate to laugh with patients. Humor can be a doctor’s psalm–the ability to see our weaknesses, bear them, even smile at them. Of course, I never undermine the serious issues at stake. But a humorless therapist is dead weight in the healing process, hinders upliftment. You can’t intellectualize someone into the value of humor. We therapists must model what we teach.
In Energy Psychiatry I consider loss of laughter a crime against psyche and spirit. With my patients, laughter’s absence never gets by me; I make it my business to notice when it’s missing, and help them recoup it. Otherwise, laughter-less, they’re unknowingly living in energetic poverty. We don’t ordinarily equate lack of laughter with deprivation, but, from an energy perspective it is.
Why don’t we laugh more? The crux is always that somewhere, somehow our inner child’s energy got squelched (An implosion of life force I’ll train you to reverse). I’ve repeatedly seen this dynamic play out in patients and myself. Unhappy childhoods, early losses, or overly serious parents can jam-up our laughter. Excessive work and no escape from current problems do it too. We may not even know when our sense of humor wanes, or perhaps we never had one. The secret is recovering our inner child who has silently slipped underground for refuge.
How to Energetically Nurture Your Inner Child and Laugh More
· Reclaim your inner child’s life force
Every grown-up has an inner child. Both are distinct energetic aspects of our life force. Your inner child may need urging but it wants to be embraced. For starters, bring out your baby or childhood photos. Really look at them. The photos can rematerialize shelved energy. Next, promise to honor that child’s needs. For example, I promised mine: “You’ll never have to smile for a camera again unless you want to–”an expectation I despised when growing up. Recall ordeals you had to endure; vow no repeats. Reclaiming your inner child will safeguard laughter and restore dormant life force.
· Find activities your inner child loves
Explore what your inner child genuinely finds fun or funny. First, recall activities from your youth that made you smile. Miniature golf. Bugs Bunny. The fast-forward chipmunk voice you get from inhaling a helium balloon. Memories can get rusty laughter synapses cranking.
· Seek out people who laugh.
We absorb funniness by osmosis. Hearty laughers spread those positive vibes to us. What counts most, though, is the energy behind the laugh, not just sound or facial expression. Take the Dali Lama’s infectious giggle which comes from a place of love and wonder–its healing energy goes straight to our hearts. The other extreme are people who have grins on their faces, but whose laughter often stems from malice or psychic pain. So confusing. They’re laughing, yet you’re being slimed with negative vibes. Don’t be fooled; trust your energetic assessment.
· Set you intention to laugh as much as possible
From the moment you wake up in the morning, look for things to laugh about. Regularly laughing buoys our energy field, reverses learned seriousness. If our parents had said at breakfast, “Be sure not to miss out on any laughs today,” it’d be a lot easier. But most didn’t, so we have to teach ourselves.
· Play with children
Children have PhD’s in play; their lack of inhibition is contagious. Spend time with them. Be filled by their positive energy.
Judith Orloff, M.D is a board certified psychiatrist and practicing intuitive, author of the new book Positive Energy: Ten Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear Into Vibrance Strength and Love. Dr. Orloff is also author of the bestsellers Guide to Intuitive Healing and Second Sight. She is assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and an international workshop leader. For more information visit www.drjudithorloff.com