Jamming with Jason E111: Laughing Every Day with Sarah Routman

Can something as simple as laughing each day actually improve your health? Absolutely.

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond. Laughter can help keep everything in perspective, and the more we practice it, the better we get at seeing things in a fresh and more light-hearted way. Instead of crying, try laughing and it will make all the difference.

This special #jammingwithjason #internalauditpodcast is a re-play from my other podcast Fire & Earth (with my friend Kathy Gruver) where we were joined by Sarah Routman an expert in laughter therapy and laughter yoga. This episode will get you laughing and show you some simple exercises you can use each day to increase your health, #happiness, and well-being.

Listen in at: http://www.jasonmefford.com/jammingwithjason/

Sarah is a champion of overall wellness, and inspires and motivates individuals and professionals to engage in healthy laughter for a vibrant, uplifting and transformative shift in all aspects of their lives that leads them towards better health and wellbeing.

Learn more and connect with Sarah at: https://www.laughhealthy.com/

Transcript

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kathygruver: Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of the fire and earth podcast, I’m your co host Kathy gruver

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Jason Mefford: And I’m Jason Medford, and today we have Sarah Troutman with us and we’re so excited. If you guys are watching you see a bunch of stuff about laugh in the background. So Sarah. Tell us a little bit about yourself, because I’m guessing we’re gonna be doing some laughing, too.

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Sarah Routman: Well, in fact, I want to start by asking your listeners have you laugh today because really, that is, to me, the most important question that a person can ask, because if the answer is no.

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Sarah Routman: Then you need to tune into one of my things because I need to get you laughing and why. Why would I want to get you laughing Well that’s, that’s my story. My story is

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Sarah Routman: That I teach people how to access purposeful playful laughter with no jokes, because it’s a really serious thing. Laughter There are so many health benefits that you can get

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Sarah Routman: You can get your heart moving faster and actually clean the plaque that’s building up in your arteries, so much so that doctors heart doctors are literally writing prescriptions for their patients. That’s a laugh for 15 minutes a day. Good belly. LAUGHS

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Sarah Routman: Which is great for me.

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Sarah Routman: But, and you can actually increase the oxygen, oxygen flow in your body. Even better. Laughter addresses sad you become less stressed, anxious and depressed, you can

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Sarah Routman: decrease pain, fear, we laughed when we’re anxious when we are feeling awkward.

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Sarah Routman: And so, the good news is you don’t need a sense of humor, life doesn’t need to be treating you well you can be filled with stress overwhelm

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Sarah Routman: A little bit of code that is, you know, like, really pent up cabin fever. If you can learn and hopefully in the next 20 minutes I’m going to teach you how to put in some playful. Laughter You’re gonna change your life.

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Sarah Routman: And that’s my goal is to change your life with laughter because my lap my life.

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Sarah Routman: Was changed with laughter 28 years ago and I’ve been laughing ever since.

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kathygruver: That’s so great.

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Jason Mefford: I think it’s funny, because when you when you’re saying that I kind of flash back to this experience I had when I was in fourth grade.

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Jason Mefford: Right. So, and it’s like one of the teachers. She was my teacher, but we would do like this singing time right and so she would she had a guitar. She would play the guitar.

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Jason Mefford: All of the kids in the third and fourth grade would get together and play right and she she sang a song about goober peas, which is a

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Jason Mefford: Peanut peanuts. Right.

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Jason Mefford: But she explained the song.

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Jason Mefford: That it came from the civil war time period when people were starving and all they had to eat was peanuts. And I remember her saying, and it was a lesson I learned there, you know, we can either cry about it.

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Jason Mefford: Or we can laugh about it. Right. And so, you know, again, I think at those times, probably, I’m guessing like you said you know 28 years ago when this really helped you.

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Jason Mefford: There’s a lot of times, maybe when we feel like crying and sometimes crying is is the right emotion to be feeling and doing. But if we can laugh, instead of crying, like you said, there’s all these different health benefits to it.

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Sarah Routman: So well, in fact, my favorite quote is by Irving Berlin and it is life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond

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Sarah Routman: Absolutely. And it is so true, because the laughter that I encourage people to put into a given situation can change your situation.

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Sarah Routman: But indirectly, it may because it does literally change your mindset and change your brain chemistry, physiologically, you change when you laugh.

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Sarah Routman: And that puts things in your body that help to clarify things to help give you a clean slate and actually what happens just if you’ll both smile for me for a second and keep smiling while I talk just a big smile. That’s great.

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Sarah Routman: So while you’re doing that endorphins are rushing to your brain. And they’re sending cortisol, which is the stress hormone away.

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Sarah Routman: And they’re inviting serotonin and dopamine, which are the feel good chemicals into your body and things set up camp here.

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Sarah Routman: And now when you laugh you release more of those same feel good chemicals. So you’re changing your body chemistry, you’re changing your brain.

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Sarah Routman: Right away, so you can’t physiologically be angry and laugh at the same time. So imagine what would happen.

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Sarah Routman: If a person was in an argument with a partner or spouse, a roommate and then instead of letting the anger escalate. They went over to them and said can we hold hands for a second please look at me. Let’s just laugh for a second.

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Sarah Routman: I’m not laughing at you. But can we just laugh for a second, you would change the brain chemistry between you

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Sarah Routman: And the research also says that when you make eye contact with someone and share. Laughter

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Sarah Routman: You can’t. You actually begin to share more honest things about yourself whether you’re laughing with a stranger or friend. So imagine how that can de escalate.

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Sarah Routman: For an anger management class or a team that has a lot of stress and a lot of anger happening kids on the playground. This is a great anti bullying tool.

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Sarah Routman: And so it just, it’s so powerful. And that’s why I do it is that when I learned the power of laughter. I couldn’t stop doing. I wanted to share with everyone.

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kathygruver: So a couple things came to mind. My favorite client ever Dorothy. She died when she was 96 she would she was holy. I mean, she was a hoot anyway stories like out about her every day, she would throw her head back and make yourself. LAUGH

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Sarah Routman: Oh, yeah.

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kathygruver: She did that for me a couple of it was. It was so fun. And so awesome and I also I think about, was it Norman Cousins.

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Sarah Routman: Absolutely.

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kathygruver: Who wrote the book, who, who was diagnosed with being so sick. And I had him in the hospital. And he said, no, I’m going home and he watched what Three Stooges videos every day.

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Sarah Routman: Yeah, and yeah.

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kathygruver: Yeah, Marx Brothers. That was it, and he laughed himself well

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kathygruver: As much power in that. So let me, let me ask you this. So they’re not from what you’re saying there’s not necessarily a connection between happy and laughter Now

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kathygruver: Whenever you because I think people say, Well, I’m not in a good mood today. I can just laugh at something or you can laugh or whatever you want.

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Sarah Routman: In fact, when you’re not in a good mood is the exact time to laugh when you’re feeling in a funk. In fact,

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Sarah Routman: I’m doing this all out of order. But I’m going to just share this with you anyway so

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Sarah Routman: You’re in a funk. You’re in a bad mood, you know that you want to change it. But you don’t know how. So I’m going to suggest that you just tap your shoulder. You can do this with me.

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Sarah Routman: Just pretend like someone’s tapping on your shoulder like who is it. Oh, it’s this guy. It’s my girlfriend and he’s gonna tap and annoy me until I engage and giggle with him. So go ahead, let’s

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Sarah Routman: I know you’re not gonna stop it.

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Sarah Routman: And when I do that, he’s gonna jump up and down because my guy is

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Sarah Routman: A little giggle emoji finally legs and little

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Just laughing at Jason

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kathygruver: With any other guy. He wants to tend to do. It’s like okay

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kathygruver: I’m just thinking comment to edit this. And if I can actually get a little cartoon like I’m picturing a little annoyed from dominoes, a little annoying.

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Sarah Routman: But it’s true because what happens is nothing was funny life wasn’t good, you know, the moment was not so fabulous. But I did so many things in this moment I first shifted my attention.

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Sarah Routman: Yes, before I even started to engage. I’ve already shifted my attention. And now once I do engage on flooding myself with these great hormones, but I’m also being present to this moment.

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Sarah Routman: Instead of whatever all that is. And now because I’ve shifted my brain chemistry. Now when I come back to this.

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Sarah Routman: The hope the premises. It doesn’t look quite so bleak I I’ve cleared my brain. I’ve taken the stress out of the brain. It’s like you just literally sent in a bunch of little movers and they said okay stress out of out you go

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Sarah Routman: And now when I look at it, it doesn’t look so bad. And so I have a fresh look a fresh approach and now that’s when creativity can come in.

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Sarah Routman: And so it really isn’t about happy. It’s about Joy. Joy is in the moment. Happy is subjective. It’s about is my life. Good to have a good relationship. Am I be with my money situation and the answer to a lot of those things right now for a lot of people is, no, no, no, no, no.

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Sarah Routman: Right and

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Sarah Routman: Oh, but

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Sarah Routman: You can find joy, no matter what. And if you can’t find it. You can put it in right

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kathygruver: Well, it’s so funny because I i I’m a coach and I have so many people say, I just want to be happy. So what does that mean, and they can’t tell me what that means.

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kathygruver: Right and happiness is something we create with every moment. It’s not something that happens to us, and I see so many people seeking happiness outside of themselves. They’re waiting for that.

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kathygruver: That that identification with that title with that girl with that car with the cat with the, you know, and they’re not finding these things inside ourselves and

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kathygruver: What I love about what you’re saying is, this is something that we are tapping literally into whenever we need it whenever we want it, Jason. I just love the grid that you have on your face.

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Jason Mefford: Looks like all these funny things that you’re saying to right and it’s it’s it was. And it’s kind of tying into because

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Jason Mefford: You know, we’re talking about you talking about happiness. Right. And we all want to be happy.

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Jason Mefford: But scientifically. How do we usually happiness is defined as subjective well being. That’s what we call her.

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Jason Mefford: Subjective well being.

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Jason Mefford: Because it’s based on the person’s own subjectivity of their current circumstance right on us on a sliding scale. So that’s, that’s how they measure happiness is usually through subjective well being. But, you know, again, it’s not

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Jason Mefford: That it because it is subjective and and I love what you said that joy is different from happiness.

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Jason Mefford: Because again, I’ve been. I’ve been kind of this is actually one of the things I’ve been thinking about recently because

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Jason Mefford: In one of the books that I wrote one of the affirmations is I am joy and thinking, Okay, what’s the difference really between joy and happiness. Right. And how can you be joyful and and joking and laughing, you know, even though you may not feel happy.

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Jason Mefford: Right. But I love to what you said about moving the attention because just doing a simple exercise like hey, my, my giggling guy is on my shoulder.

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Jason Mefford: Right, you know,

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Jason Mefford: Right.

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Sarah Routman: All right.

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Jason Mefford: Jason weirdo. But you move your attention. Sometimes your attention doesn’t need to go back either

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Jason Mefford: That’s one of the biggest things about getting out of the emotion is

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Jason Mefford: Move your attention to something else.

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Sarah Routman: Exactly. Well,

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Jason Mefford: And. LAUGHTER It’s a higher emotion in your mood.

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Sarah Routman: And one of the best things about laughter yoga, which is how I started well my. That was the second step, I’ll go back and tell you the story of how I got to this in a moment.

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Sarah Routman: But I usually start a session with something called smile ups. It’s like push ups for your mouth. So just smile and then relax and smile.

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Sarah Routman: And relax and you can be as goofy as you want. It doesn’t matter. So when we do laughter yoga. There are two rules. We always try to make eye contact and if you’re alone, then you can

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Sarah Routman: You can use a mirror. But you can also make yourself a little smile buddies. You can have someone smile with you or you can cheat and get one of these guys.

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Sarah Routman: And then they need to smile laugh at each other. It’s also all about play but I start with smile ups because a lot of times people feel a little awkward about laughing on purpose.

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Sarah Routman: And the thing about laughing on purpose, that’s important is the second rule of laughter yoga is that we suspend judgment. However, you show up and laugh as okay. It doesn’t matter. Like if I just laugh like this. That’s okay. Or I could do a really

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Sarah Routman: You’re not ever laughing at someone we agree that we’re laughing together to support each other in laughter because we want the laughter. We want the benefits

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Sarah Routman: And the, the crux of the matter is that you don’t have to wait for something to be funny. So we think that laughter is about humor.

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Sarah Routman: But actually scientific studies indicate that there is only 20% of laughter is a result of something being funny.

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Sarah Routman: And that’s good because humor is subjective, just like happiness. So that means that we laugh when we’re nervous when we’re awkward when we feel scared when we feel nervous.

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Sarah Routman: We laugh in a social situation me laugh because it’s contagious. Like when I left a minute ago. And you both started laughing

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Sarah Routman: And so when I start a laughter session it’s purposeful playful. LAUGHTER I’ll tell some boundaries and some rules the eye contact and the suspending judgment often start with smile ups because it gets you laughing

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Sarah Routman: Especially looking at someone else and then I’ll ask everyone to introduce themselves say a name and give a left. So let’s try that right now. So my name is Sarah.

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Sarah Routman: No pressure love how you want, go ahead. Yeah, see, what’s your love or introduce yourself.

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kathygruver: Oh, I’ll do a laugh that draws my boyfriend crazy. My name is Kathy.

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Sarah Routman: Fantastic. Okay, Jason.

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Jason Mefford: All right, I’m gonna try to do this one. This is one of my friend used to do a lot. Hi, my name is Jason

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Oh this morning.

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kathygruver: I we I used to have friends that came over for game night and you knew that I was completely because when I get tired. I get silly and I get very goofy.

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kathygruver: And then I would start with the laughing and then I would we, so I’d need my inhaler. But then it would go to snorting and then it would go to the squeak where it would just the reset and you just do this.

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kathygruver: In my head, my head down.

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kathygruver: Tracy really all copies gone

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Sarah Routman: She’s like that on that.

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Sarah Routman: That’s actually kind of laughter that we’re after. We want to laugh as hard as possible. We want to laugh.

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Sarah Routman: Till our belly hurts till tears are coming down. That’s the kind of laughter. That is the healthiest and in order to get the most amount of benefits you want to try to laugh for 15 minutes at a time.

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Sarah Routman: You can read them, but you want to do 15 minutes of deep belly laughs a day that’s what

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Sarah Routman: Gets your heart going in your oxygen flowing

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kathygruver: You know and I bet I get to that.

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Sarah Routman: Because, oh

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Sarah Routman: And here’s the thing. Your body doesn’t know the difference between laughing because something’s funny. Yeah, we’ll just laughing And chances are, there might have been something that tickled. You are triggered that laughter. In the beginning, but after that.

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Sarah Routman: It didn’t trigger everyone else but your laughter triggered everyone else so you know when you know when you understand that your body doesn’t need to think it’s funny.

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Sarah Routman: That you’re not looking for happiness. You’re trying to put in joy and that you can have this incredible element of play. You said you get

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Sarah Routman: Funny and silly and goofy. That’s really the key. If you can put play in

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Sarah Routman: That is taking all your self judgment away we’re not thinking, oh, I’m an adult unstressed I have responsibilities, I shouldn’t laugh.

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Sarah Routman: You’re thinking the way a child thinks, which is, I’m curious, and it’s like how fascinating is this and they’re rolling on the floor and you say, what’s so funny. And they don’t know because it really isn’t about funny, it’s just about joy.

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Sarah Routman: And so when a when a client says, I want to be happy, maybe I might turn it around and say, when was the last time you felt joy. Tell me about that, what did that feel like, wouldn’t that be something to strive for. And guess what you are in control of that you can do that any time. Yep, absolutely.

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kathygruver: On my

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kathygruver: On my, I have a Facebook group called the empowerment project and yesterday the prompt was, what is your favorite sound and at least 60 or 70% of the people said laughter specifically child’s laughter. But people say it. Laughter an ocean.

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kathygruver: We’re kind of the too loud, too. Sounds everyone liked. Go ahead.

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Jason Mefford: Jason. Sorry, I cut you off. Well, I was gonna ask too because you know you were talking about playing and putting an element of play into this and I know, because again, I’ve been thinking about this recently.

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Jason Mefford: As, as we grow up and become adults right we get serious and and

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Jason Mefford: You know there’s there’s the pressure. There’s the stress. There’s the everything else, right, that goes along with it. And so much of the time we feel heavy or at least sometimes all feel heavy right

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Jason Mefford: And it’s and it’s not necessarily sometimes life is heavy. Right. And, but I think again it’s those are, again, those kind of times when it’s like, Hey, I just didn’t laugh.

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Jason Mefford: Right and and and play more like a child. You know, because unfortunately we grow up, we get all these preconceived notions of Ooh, I’m a prim and proper person. Now, you know, I’m an adult Tomas do this.

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Jason Mefford: And and instead, really, we need to continue to let that little kid out. Why make it fun. LAUGH regardless of what’s going on my life.

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Sarah Routman: Well, in fact, it was a very not happy moment when I learned about. Laughter So I want to take you back to the year of 1993

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Sarah Routman: And I am living on the floor of my daughter’s hospital room on a brightly colored polka dotted futon which also doubled as her playroom.

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Sarah Routman: And she had an immune deficiency and she was quite sick and we were very isolated. So, it reminds me of these times, because you know everyone had to wear a mask and gloves and gown up to come into our room.

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Sarah Routman: And so she

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Sarah Routman: Her dad was living with the other two girls out of town and he you know we were in North Carolina at Duke. Medical Center. So he would come to visit when he could. And he came

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Sarah Routman: He came one weekend and he was sitting on a rocking chair with her in his lap and her name is Jacqueline

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Sarah Routman: And there was a big brightly colored poster on the wall that said I love you very much.

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Sarah Routman: And he held her in his lap, and he said he was pointing to the poster. He said I love you. And when he said you he tickled her and she started laughing

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Sarah Routman: And the two of them started laughing and I had earlier that week met with nine major doctors like heads of the departments and I, as I said I was living on the floor of the bathroom.

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Sarah Routman: But I just started laughing and I was transported to another place. It was as if she was saying, forget all this mom come with me. Let’s go to the garden. Let’s play

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Sarah Routman: And and we did. And so we went to that magical land where kids play because they’re not here, they’re playing. They’re just exploring

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Sarah Routman: And so, I mean, I was really transformed I recognize the power of that. LAUGHTER And I had my antenna up for it for years. And it wasn’t until my older daughter later was in college and her friend.

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Sarah Routman: Had become a laughter yoga leader and invited me to come to a session I had no idea what I was in for there were 40 strangers on the basement in the basement of a church and

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Sarah Routman: We didn’t know each other. We were told to laugh on purpose, we felt silly. We felt awkward and then the laughter just exploded and it became unstoppable. And at that point, it was like

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Sarah Routman: This is what I’ve been waiting for. And I have to do this and I immediately became a laughter yoga leader and later a teacher and it is so important to me.

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Sarah Routman: Because I know the power of that laughter to change everything in your life. And again, you can change the circumstances, but I’ve even laughed with hospice patients and I teach hospice caregivers and the medical staff.

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Sarah Routman: Just because someone is terminally ill does not mean that you need to sit around and be miserable every day.

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Sarah Routman: You can find the joy of the moment. And so we often don’t go visit someone who’s sick because we don’t know what to say to them, what if you walked in somebody’s room and said, Hey, have you done your smile ups today, or have you laugh today.

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Sarah Routman: And there’s a couple gentle finger exercises that I’m going to also show you because

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Sarah Routman: These really help when you’re trying to get into laughter. We have, as adults, like you said, Jason. Lots of resistance. So if you put your spread your fingers. Why’d you have pressure points here.

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Sarah Routman: And we’re gonna, I’m going to teach you this backwards because when we’re done, we’re going to say, very good, very good. Yay, which is a very kid like thing to do. Very good, very good.

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Sarah Routman: Very good. Okay. But we’re accessing these pressure points in our hands and we also can do hope. Oh, hahaha. These are transitions.

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kathygruver: For doing that and you laughter yoga. No.

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Sarah Routman: Okay, so, but this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to separate each thumb and as we bring it back together. We’re going to say, Hmm, and then we’re going to increase another finger and another ha till we’re all done and ready

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Jason Mefford: Ha ha.

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Jason Mefford: Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

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kathygruver: Ha ha.

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Sarah Routman: Ha.

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Sarah Routman: Ha ha ha ha ha.

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Sarah Routman: Little faster now ready

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kathygruver: Jason

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Jason Mefford: I’m trying to focus on my fingers.

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Jason Mefford: Know,

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Sarah Routman: your pinky. Okay.

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Sarah Routman: One more time. Ready.

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Sarah Routman: To go backwards backwards. Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Okay.

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kathygruver: Here we go. He’s gonna watch Jason

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kathygruver: Because when we do hypnosis, we

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kathygruver: Always make Jason, do it.

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Jason Mefford: I know

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Sarah Routman: Sideways. So, we can see how well you’re doing.

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Jason Mefford: Oh boy, add extra complexity to it. Do it. Okay. Haha.

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Sarah Routman: Very good, very good. Yay.

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Jason Mefford: Good, very good. Yeah.

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kathygruver: My God, I just saw like four year old, Jason. This is

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kathygruver: Hilarious.

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kathygruver: And of course, because, you know, this happens, we are out of time. Oh, no.

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kathygruver: I know it happened so fast and the one that was one thing I was gonna say was

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kathygruver: My father had the best sense of humor. Ever. He was the funniest man he was so kind. He was so filled with joy and I remember at my Mom’s funeral. He was the one making everyone. LAUGH

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kathygruver: And you can see some of like the older people were like,

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kathygruver: How an appropriate is that he’s laughing at his wife’s funeral. Now that was freaking awesome that he was laughing and I you know I learned that from him. It’s like there’s never a time that you can’t bring that joy and so I told her.

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Sarah Routman: And the thing is, you can’t be sad if you haven’t once felt joy about something. Yeah. And so he was taking all the joy of her life and bringing it into that moment. And that’s just awesome.

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kathygruver: Well, thank you, sir, for bringing a lot of joy into our lives. This has been awesome. Why don’t you tell everybody. I’m going to just give her what Jason for a while when I

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Jason Mefford: Got my 15 minutes into they are

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kathygruver: Totally did, and we did a show before you were. We were laughing so that’s good. Um, why don’t you tell me, I know you have a new book, why don’t you tell everyone how to reach you how to get the book, all that good stuff.

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Sarah Routman: Okay, great. So if you want to reach me. The easiest way is Sarah sa RA H at last healthy two words all connected.com Sarah at left healthy calm and you could guess that the website is live healthy

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Sarah Routman: So healthy talk calm and I have a YouTube channel that is also live healthy and if you want to subscribe to that YouTube channel, I’d be overjoyed. So the full story of

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Sarah Routman: My daughter’s illness and finding laughter can be found in this book, which we just had the book launch last week.

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Sarah Routman: An Anthology of 21 authors living with chronic illness and mine is one of to caregiver chapters and this is so important.

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Sarah Routman: We had no idea when we were publishing it that it would be so timely, but these are people who you can’t see that they’re sick, but they’re sick and in pain. A lot

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Sarah Routman: And so this gives a lot of information about how to live with chronic illness and

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Sarah Routman: Every single one of these people is filled with optimism and hope, despite having multiple illnesses and the statistics about

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Sarah Routman: People living with chronic illness are staggering over half of our population in the next five years will likely not only live with a chronic illness but half of those will live with multiple conditions.

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Sarah Routman: So this

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Sarah Routman: Can be found. Also you can email me at Sarah at live healthy and I can send you information can also find this on Amazon camp.

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Sarah Routman: So,

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kathygruver: So timely and so important. Um, Jason. A final word.

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Jason Mefford: I think this is great. I mean, again, it you know for me I

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Jason Mefford: I need to laugh more, I need to experience more joy.

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Jason Mefford: You know, because I think a lot of times we

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Jason Mefford: We all kind of chase after happiness, but like we said at the beginning, it’s subjective well being and something as simple as our little tapping

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Jason Mefford: Don’t get it going. Guy on our shoulder doing the

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Jason Mefford: Finger thing. I gotta, I gotta practice.

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Jason Mefford: Is going backwards is harder for me than forward.

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Jason Mefford: But there there are little things that again we can do and need to do and build into our daily routines, you know, this is just as important

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Jason Mefford: As you know, meditation as reading, as you know, prayer. If your spirit, you know, anything like that that you that you kind of do every day. We just need to develop this habit of daily. Laughing You know, so thank you.

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kathygruver: Yeah. Thank you, Sarah, so much for being on this was such a fun episode.

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kathygruver: Yay. All right.

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kathygruver: Yay.

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kathygruver: I’m Kathy. Kathy group where I can be reached at Kathy gruber.com

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Jason Mefford: Jason Medford, I can be reached at Jason method calm. So this week. Go out and laugh more practice some of these things get Sarah’s book connect with her. Watch your on YouTube.

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Jason Mefford: But just get out there and laugh more and remember to, you know, bring that joy into your life. And with that, we will catch you all on the future episode of the fire and earth podcast. See ya.