Giggles and Guffaws: My Guilt Free Reason for Starting my Day Laughing with Babies on the Internet
I make a point of watching a YouTube video in the morning while I’m making and eating breakfast. Most of the time it’s an inspiring TED talk, or one of those “get off your ass and make your dreams happen” motivational videos. Most mornings, that’s good enough to get me into gear and push me to work through my to-do list. But some days, the witty TED lectures and the gritty motivational videos just don’t do it. I’ll tune out while whisking my eggs, thinking instead of how great it would be to crawl back into bed, pull the covers up over my head, and do nothing for the rest of the day. Ten whole minutes will go by, the video will end, and all I’ll remember is how unbearably tired or miserable I’m feeling that day.
So I switch tactics. While I shovel down my oatmeal, I scroll through the Fail Army channel or watch live news bloopers. I look for videos of adorable giggling babies or cats hilariously proving how wicked they are. I search for videos that will make me laugh until I have to wipe away tears between sips of tea.
To some, this may seem like a royal waste of time. Shouldn’t I be spending my morning hours preparing myself to conquer the world? Wouldn’t it be much more productive to watch something I can learn from? I used to ask myself those questions too. I used to feel a little guilty for throwing away five minutes on silly cat videos. But I realized that when I closed the YouTube app and gotto work on my to-do list, I was just as productive as I was when I had some man with a big baritone voice yelling at me to “chase success.”
It’s not every day I need to be told to follow my dreams or stop wasting time. I don’t always need some deeply moving pep talk or to learn something new. Most of the time, I know what I need to do to make my dreams happen. I’m perfectly aware of what it takes to put my success first. I already know that I can do it. On the mornings when the TED talks and motivational speeches go unheard, it’s not because I’m not motivated or knowledgeable, but because I need to be reminded that it’s ok to lighten up, to laugh a little.
A lot of the times, we get so zeroed in on working hard and chasing dreams, that we lose sight of the importance of being happy while doing it. We get so focused on doing our best, and pushing through, and kicking down obstacles, that we forget to stop and smell the roses. For a lot of us, life is all work, and no play (except when it’s penciled in on our calendars). People with 9-5s live for the weekend, and entrepreneurs live for the scheduled breaks. And trust me, I get that work time is work time. But five minutes of laughing along with a baby who’s discovered the joy of chocolate ice cream has a miraculous way of reminding us of that the happiness we’re working towards should be as much in the journey as it is in the destination.
And your body knows it. Laughter has been proven to relax the body, boost the immune system, and relieve stress. It releases feel-good endorphins, improves your mood and can counter feelings of depression and anxiety. There are literally classes for laughter yoga, where participants force themselves to laugh voluntarily to trigger all those effects. While sitting in a room full of strangers and forcefully guffawing might work for some people, I much rather do my crazy lady laughing alone at my kitchen table. But the point is, laughter really might be the best medicine.
So, next time you wake up and feel like throwing your day planner out a window or going back to bed instead of going off to work, do something that makes you laugh. The best way to shake off your weariness may not always be inspiration or motivation, but the simple reminder of how good it feels to laugh. Instead of trying to cram more information into an exhausted brain or force yourself to work harder, just do something that slows you down and makes you happy. And if you’re short on hilarious cat/baby/fail videos, I’ve got plenty I can recommend.