Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the Fourth Be With You! (And Also With You)

'Tis the merry month of May, although here in New Jersey it still feels a bit like early March. April has gone out like a wet sponge, and the May flowers are shivering as they peek their heads above ground. The forsythias have faded while the dogwood is in full bloom. Each day, on my commute to work, I pass under a canopy of tall trees that are slowly changing from bare sticks to budded limbs. Soon their leafy arms will shade the morning sunlight. If it ever stops raining, that is.

After the poetry-writing break of April, I am returning to the challenge of Living on the Smile Side of Life (although, I could say that a poetry writing break IS living on the Smile Side of Life, even if the poetry is not humorous). I am currently taking a class called the Science of Happiness and am reading quite a bit of research and scholarly opinion on the subject of happiness; what it is; where it comes from; what purpose it serves in life. 

It has made me think deeper about humor and laughter in life, and how they affect happiness. Most especially, when we practice laughter as an exercise, what is the effect on mood and a person's interpretation of happiness. We already know that, in some respects, we can fool the brain into releasing endorphins by smiling even if we don't feel like it, and laughing as an exercise, especially in a group. Do those things, and others, affect our happiness? Is it momentary? Is it cumulative? These are the things I would like to research; things that perhaps I can ask people who attend my laughter wellness sessions with specific before and after questions about levels of happiness before and after a session. And maybe, if people are willing, how they feel later; does the affect of the session stay with them? I am sure others have done this kind of research and I will be looking to track it down, and then, as a way of improving my presentations, see how "my" groups do.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has already looked into the particular connections between laughter wellness or laughter yoga and happiness, and also, anyone in my area who would like to maybe form a small group to meet over a certain period of time to participate in laughter wellness sessions and track their happiness over time.

And in the meantime, I will continue to look for the humor in life, because, my life alone is still providing plenty of examples. Coming soon, the closet door installation adventure.

And, to celebrate Star Wars Day, here is a little video.