You don’t. It depends on what you want to achieve. Let’s review two important concepts:
Spontaneous laughter (which you are talking about) is unrelated to one’s free will, and is triggered by different (external) stimuli and positive emotions. Humor belongs to this group, amongst several other techniques. It has been around since time immemorial, with mixed results. Although often associated, it is important to note that laughter and humor are distinct events. Whereas humor is a stimulus that can occur without laughter, laughter is both an emotion and a response and can occur without humor.
Intentional (voluntary) laughter (which we teach) is a safe, reliable and sustainable way to tap into your own inner cellular pharmacy and use laughter to promote health, wellness and well being. It offers important benefits that the occasional spontaneous laughter of daily life does not:
- It’s a valid alternative. Imagine cutting a lemon in half, and squeezing it in your mouth. How do you feel? The more vividly you imagine this experience is, the stronger your body will react. Your mind knows there is no lemon, but your body doesn’t. It’s the same phenomenon when you intentionally choose to laugh. Your mind will always know the difference between simulated and genuine laughter, but your body won’t because it can’t think. The body can only feel.
- It lasts longer and offer more benefits. Just like with any form of exercise, 20-60 minutes of continuous practice will give you much more benefits than just a few seconds at a time. The spontaneous laughter that naturally occurs in daily life, in comparison, only comes for a few seconds here and there and does not produce the same level of benefits.
- It’s an easy way to reliably access your own inner cellular pharmacy. Laughter acts as a pump and stimulates the cleansing of the lymph system by creating a vacuum effect that pulls the lymph through the bloodstream. This increases the rate of toxic elimination by as much as 15 times the normal rate. In daily life, deep belly laughter is rare and generally short-lived when it does occur.
- It’s a safe way to release tension. Choosing to laugh allows people to vocalize rather than verbalize tension and safely diffuse it. Humans are feelings machines, and the flux of emotions is not always easy to control. In daily life, people resist the urge to laugh, cry, scream, or otherwise be emotional, but emotions are illogical, irrational, and unreasonable. When you have too much of them, they just come out. Imagine a pressure cooker. It’s the same phenomenon. At some point, no matter how strong it is, it will explode if the pressure inside keeps building. Learning to release inner tensions without narrative solely through the expression of sound helps people see reality more clearly, without personal distortions.
- It is sustainable. Intentional laughter is always new, fresh and different. It’s the purest form of laughter there is because there is no reason for it. It is free of conditions, beyond culture and time, and requires no particular setup or equipment.
- It is reliable. The Laughter Wellness method is a fully codified and substantiated approach to Laughter Therapy. There is nothing to stop you from laughing when you want to. From a therapeutic perspective, the spontaneous laughter of daily life is not reliable because it is dependent on too many factors outside of your control.
- It’s a tool for personal development. Choosing to laugh forces a shift in attitude from “I can’t” into “I can.” In time the belief that laughter is “nowhere” evolves into the realization that laughter is “now here”. This promotes a positive mindset and everything that comes with it. Would you still be able to laugh if everything that makes you happy and feel good disappeared overnight? The answer is most probably no, and this is why our approach to laughter can be of great benefit to you, even if you already laugh a lot. It will help put the reasons why you laugh inside of you, not outside, and teach you equanimity. Only one who knows how to create a balance between favorable and unfavorable situations can maintain balance of mind and his composure.