Happy Friday – The Laughter of Children

Happy Friday, Everyone!   Our Happy Friday posts delve a bit deeper into our views on happiness, and how that influences our philosophies on the other two top priorities in our lives – money and kittens. Some of these posts are quick reflections on something that brought us joy, while others might be an exploration or discussion of research we come across in the “science of happiness”.  Click here for past Happy Friday posts.  

 

g1368826273467475882.jpgI’ve been sick recently, and have spent more time than I like getting poked and prodded as the doctors try and figure out what’s going on with me. (Don’t worry too much, okay? I’m not dying. Just uncomfortable.) Needless to say, it hasn’t been the most enjoyable experience. Being poked and prodded is fun, right? No, it’s not.

Anyhow… A few mornings ago, I needed to get yet another test done before heading in to work, and as a result was driving to work rather than biking as I’ve been doing most of the time this summer.

Driving Isn’t Fun

Unlike Mr PoP, driving isn’t fun for me. Getting in a cute car and making it more of an experience increases the enjoyment factor, but I’m not the kind of person that just “goes for a drive” for enjoyment purposes sometimes the way Mr PoP is.

I know, this is a “Happy Friday” post, and so far it hasn’t been all that happy… but I’m getting there, I promise!

So to reward myself for enduring the poking and prodding at the doctor’s office, I changed into one of my favorite dresses, donned my movie-star-huge sunglasses, and had the convertible top down on the drive to work. All this, though, and I was still in a fairly grumpy mood. (As a side note, Mr PoP is a saint for putting up with my grumpiness through all this.)

A Red Light Changed My Mood

As I pulled up to a red light, I got stuck behind a school bus. So there I was, inhaling some diesel fumes (yum!) and wondering why on earth I thought the top down was a good idea when a tiny head popped up over the back seat of the school bus. A young boy, maybe 9 or 10 popped up and started smiling and waving at me. I played it cool, ignoring him at first. But when I didn’t respond, he laughed and started waving both hands, jazz hands style.

I couldn’t not laugh at that, so I laughed, and waved back. Then another head popped up. And another! And another! And another! And another! There were at least a couple rows of young boys now trying to see me through the back window and waving and grinning like idiots.

The bus driver surely must have been annoyed since there was no way these kids were in their seats properly anymore. But they were all waving and laughing and smiling just having a blast. And I waved back, smiling and laughing myself at this point.

The stoplight changed to green, and before long the school bus changed lanes to turn and I continued straight on my way to work. But as I passed the bus, the kids had opened up the side window and were calling out “Bye!” and “We’ll miss you!” and waving and laughing all the while.

This whole interaction probably took no more than 60 seconds, but the laughter and joy of those little boys stuck with me for hours. And it made me remember…

Laughing Can Make Me Feel Better

Even though nothing really changed in my situation before those kids started waving to me and after, laughing made me feel better about everything. Heck, even if the kids were laughing AT me, it didn’t matter; I felt better after it. There’s science behind this (endorphins get released and all), but I didn’t need to understand the science to appreciate how my feelings (specifically my level of happiness) changed with just a short bout of laughter.

But even though I had already spent time with other people so far that day (lots of them at the doctor’s office, actually), it took kids to give me this “treatment”. You see…

Kids Laugh A LOT More Than Adults

The most often quoted stats seem to be that adults laugh an average of 15-20 times per day compared to children who laugh 300-400 times per day. So for every one laugh an adult experiences, a child experiences about twenty. After watching the little boys on the bus for less than a minute, I believe it!

I’m not sure I quite have a good solution as to how to consciously bring more laughter into my life. (Mama PoP has tried laugher yoga in the past, and maybe we can convince her to share a bit about her experience with it on the blog!) But after the immediate impact I felt today with a couple good chuckles, I think it can’t hurt to try to bring some more laughter to our every day!

 

Mr PoP’s Thoughts:  The reason why grown men don’t laugh and wave en masse at pretty girls in convertibles is because it’s considered harassment.  

 

Any ideas or suggestions on how we can be more like kids and bring more laughter into our every day experiences?  And please don’t read this as any ticking biological clock.  We’re no closer to a decision on that than we were six months ago.    

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