The Many Levels of Laughter

Burning-Match -derek-GaveyMonday Morning Match is a quick post – maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea – intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Working out can be exhausting. “Stretching your mind” can be very tiring. Balancing the emotional and logical aspects of a real estate transaction can be very fatiguing.

So why is laughter such a welcome “exercise”? According to,  “we change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.” One expert found that in terms of raising one’s heart rate, one minute of laughter was the equivalent of ten minutes on a rowing machine.

The Levels of Laughter

1. Smile – Let’s start with the pre-cursor to laughter: a

Did you know that smiling can help you get promoted? In a career where you are trying to get people to “choose” you, it seems like a great place to start would be with a smile. (See 14 other Fascinating Facts About Smiling here)

What makes you smile each day? How can you insure that you smile early and often throughout your day? Does your alarm wake you with an annoying buzzer or can you program it to kick off your day with a fun song from your favorite artist?

See if your week might not have more energy if you started with Jimmy Cliff’s “I Can See Clearly Now” or “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley at the beginning of each day.

Maybe hang a photo on your mirror of someone who inspires you. How about a favorite quote?

Is it the first sip of coffee that puts a smile on your face or maybe it’s lacing up your running shoes and hitting the road or treadmill?

Whatever it may be that gets a smile on your face, make it happen early in your day.

2. LOL – This level of “laughter” has become more popular with texting and social media. LOL stands for “Laughing Out Loud” and is the easy way to let people know you thought what they said, posted or shared was funny. Because no one is usually there to verify the actual audible nature of your laughing, we have to take your word for it…or it least your letters for it.

This is the modern-day equivalent of people sending you a postcard from vacation and adding their heartfelt “The weather is beautiful. I wish you were here” statement at the end.

2.1 LMAO – Not just “laughing out loud,” at this level one is actually “Laughing My @$$ Off.”

2.2 LMFAO – This one takes the laughter to a demonstrable new level by adding an F-bomb to the exclamation.

2.3 ROTFLOL – If you send a text or message through social media that actually has someone “Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud” you have really found someone’s funny bone. Well played Mr. Comedian. You might want to follow-up with them and make sure they didn’t hurt themselves while they were down there.

3. Giggle – This is a level of laughter that we should all make sure we do more often. It’s a level above a smile because it actually induces some noise.  Oftentimes you don’t even need to know why people are giggling, it might cause you to giggle along with them.

Giggling can be contagious, especially when you’re trying not to make noise or show you find something humorous. Here’s agreat example of a news anchorman sharing a story and suddenly, his giggles get the best of him…and a fellow anchorman on the set. (Click here to see video)

 Of course, as seen in that clip, the giggle can lead to the next level of laughter…

4. Belly Laughter. This is when all parts of your body start to get in on the action. The laughter becomes louder and more physical. Belly laughter usually is increased by other people in your immediate presence achieving the same level of laughter as well.

Here’s another example of belly laughter in a small child. It’s the perfect reminder that laughter is a universal language. Notice the physical nature of this baby’s laughter from his eyes to his mouth to eventually, his arms, legs and entire body. (Click here to see video)

5. Body Shaking Laughter – Also known as “doubled over laughter”, this level is rarely achieved but when it is, the person laughing is physically tired afterwards. It is usually found amongst good friends sharing an anecdote that would really only be funny to those involved. If you’re an outsider to the story, you may achieve lower levels of laughter but if you don’t get to Level 5, it’s okay. The most likely reason is “you had to be there.”

6. Laughing Until You Cry – This level is rare but when it happens it is usually quite memorable. It usually is brought on by a sustained period of laughter. It might be at a comedy club, a social event or even a business meeting. It often times is the result of one or more people watching others advance through the levels of laughter with you and that just makes things funnier. It can be accelerated if someone in your group has a distinctive laugh or snorts when the are laughing.

Wiping the tears away will help calm you down but often a simple gaze in the direction of one of the fellow laughers will cause more laughter to erupt.

If you achieve level 5 or 6 laughter, you are physically tired after you stop laughing and it sometimes hurts to move.

How Can You “Level Up”?

“the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” –  e e cummings

What can you do to add some laughter into your day or share a laugh with others?

How can you insure that when people engage with you in your personal lives or in your business lives that they will smile, giggle, laugh or cry?

Are you interacting with people on-line in a way that might get someone “LOL” ing or possibly earn a coveted LMAO or even get someone on the ground near their computer or mobile device?

I want to know what makes you laugh? Who do you laugh the most with? Did you think of someone as you read this post that you have laughed with? If so, send them a link to this and let them know you were thinking of them. If nothing else, it will being a smile to their face.

Share in the comments below what are some ways that you achieve the different levels of laughter in your personal and business lives.

It’s important that you build relationships and solve problems this week…but it’s critical that you have fun doing it.



Photo Credit: Derek Gavey via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: LawPrieR via Creative Commons

One Response to The Many Levels of Laughter
  1. David Marine
    February 25, 2013 | 3:27 pm

    Great post Sean. One of the things my wife always reminds me is how disarming and meaningful a simple smile can be. Of all the points here I think that’s the most important one. Smiling at a stranger or just someone in the hallway just makes life a little brighter.

    Quick story. During one summer in college, my wife worked at the DMV. Hated it. Just miserable people. Came home and her mom told her you just need to start smiling at people and it will change how they react to you. So she focused on smiling at every single wonderful DMV customer that came in. And it worked. All of a sudden people were less agressive, not as angry and sometimes even civil.

    So let’s smile people. Thanks for the reminder Sean.