Sukumar Satpathy

Lauren Hunt, USA: Several years back things were not so great in my life and in my marriage. I wasn’t happy as two small children were stressing me out and I wasn’t getting time for myself. I felt isolated without much social support and my husband and I were also not getting enough time together. Everything between us was tense and heavy and conversations were typically about finances, kids, and the never-ending to-do list of the many projects we had going.

Things became so bad that we hit a crisis point and talk of divorce was on the table. As we worked through our crisis the clarity of what was missing became clear: playfulness and a sense of humor. We weren’t having any fun together! We forgot to enjoy. Moving forward, my husband and I vowed to pay attention to this need for lightheartedness and to create more of it between us. It wasn’t easy.

We tried a lot of things till Laughter Yoga came to my life. I discovered that this was a unique concept where anyone could laugh for no reason; you don’t need comedy, jokes or even to be in a good mood to laugh. It provided health and happiness through laughter and improved a person’s ability to deal with challenges of life.

I immediately got trained in this method and started practicing it on a regular basis. Things began to change in my life, in my outlook on things, and in my marriage. It’s been two years and I now laugh a lot and am able to cope with my life in a much better way than before.

Here’s what I learned:

Fake it till you make it: This principle can be applied to a lot of areas in life – especially relationships. This has been a big “a-ha” for me. Because there are times in my marriage when “I don’t feel like it” comes up. Perhaps I don’t feel like going on a date, or making love, or being kind and loving to my partner. Perhaps I don’t feel like smiling all the time. But when I do it anyway – faking it if I have to at first, my body still responds in a positive way. Just like with the laughing. And my husband certainly appreciates being smiled at when he first comes home.

Change Begins Within: Dr. Kataria says, “When you laugh, you change, and when you change the world changes.” I have found this to be completely true. When I began to lead Laughter Yoga what I was actually practicing was being playful. I had to turn on my enthusiasm to lead others. I had to let my silly side come out. I had to make up laughter exercises on the spot when I couldn’t remember the ones I learned in the training.

And guess what the result has been? I smile more. I laugh more easily than I used to. I engage in playfulness with my husband more often. Did he start doing Laughter Yoga with me? NO. But my level of playfulness naturally encouraged him to be more playful. You will often see our kids smiling and teasing us about how silly we are together now.

Little Moments Count- So Make Them Positive: My husband and I have a busy life. It’s still a challenge to make time for each other. That hasn’t changed. What changed is when I asked myself, do I want the moments I have with him to be positive or negative?

Because the truth is: every little moment contributes to your whole experience. I had to take responsibility for what I was bringing to our moments. Laughter Yoga has helped me learn a big lesson- that in order to GET what I wanted; I had to GIVE what I wanted. In this case the missing element in my marriage was lightheartedness and playfulness. But just knowing that wasn’t enough. I actually had to BE playful and lighthearted.

Feeding yourself with what you enjoy and it will ultimately translate into you having more energy to give to your marriage and your kids. And you’d be surprised how others around you change when you change.

So go out there and have some laughs. Have some fun. See what happens. Play!