Laughter is not about laughing. It is actually about cultivating childlike playfulness. Once you learn to play, you don’t have to laugh. Laughter will be the natural outcome of your playful inner child. If you want to get rid of your dependence on jokes and still want to laugh, simply become childlike. In the initial stages of the growth of Laughter Clubs, when we found jokes could not make us laugh much, we forced ourselves to laugh in a group, but many people found it mechanical and got bored with the activity.
Though laughing in a group provides a stimulus, a childlike behavior by adults helps them to get over their inhibitions and actually loosen up. Therefore, we incorporate a of childlike actions in the Laughter Club like producing funny sounds by swiveling the tongue inside the mouth, tapping air-filled cheeks, laughing like a child and talking Gibberish. We keep reminding our members about the importance of being like a child.
Robert Holden in his book “Laughter – The Best Medicine” says: ‘‘Every child is born with abundant creative potential for laughter, fun, play, happiness and love. Any restraint on any of these has an adverse effect on the child’s growth and development. Anyone who grows with the inner child will find health, harmony and happiness. Therefore, instead of growing out of the child, we should grow with the child.’’
As adults, very few can retain the excitement of a child. Poems have been written about the desire to get back to one’s childhood days, but this alone is not enough. Some additional action is necessary. Just as one cannot learn swimming without getting into the water, one can be childlike only by behaving like a child. In a given period of time, every day we as Laughter Club members try to revisit our childhood and try to carry that carefree spirit over to daily life. Childlike activities can be done either with one’s own children/grandchildren or in a group of adults at Laughter Clubs.