shake your gut.

Laughter meditation is when you laugh for a prolonged period of time. True story–there is an actual style of meditation in which this is practiced. And really, can there be anything else that is more fun to get present to than laughter?

calm down.

Ugh. I remember being in middle school when people started tossing this phrase around. If I laughed at something or got excited or enthusiastic, the cool kids would look at me condescendingly and say, “Calm down.”

Then perhaps they’d toss their hair over one shoulder.

The end result is that I had laughter phobia for years. I mean, not really–of course, I’d laugh. But I wanted to “laugh cool.”

don’t “laugh cool.”

It’s no fun that way. Instead, set a timer, force some ha-ha-ha-ha’s out of your stomach, and really get into it. Look in a mirror. Get a friend to play along. Get the pipes going by watching something funny on YouTube right before you do it. Think of something that cracks you up, every single time–for me, it’s this bumper sticker that says:

“Zen Buddhism: Don’t even think about it.”

Get it?