My experience of waking up laughing began to happen out of nowhere. I didn’t think about it beforehand or try to make it happen. I had never heard of it before.

It emerged spontaneously from a natural state of mind, a state of health that I cultivated on purpose over the years.

I’ll share with you how the laughter began to happen to me, the things that make me laugh, and the steps you can take to start your days laughing.

I have come a long way. As a teenager I attended one of the best private schools in Honolulu, but I was a wild child. I surfed waves three times my height, jumped off cliffs into the sea, and rode a motorcycle.

I did such daredevil things that I am lucky to be alive.

I got married at 19 and didn’t see much of my husband who spent most nights partying with his friends and other women.

During those crazy days in Lahaina in the 1970s, I was focused on working at the oceanfront boutique and the health food store I owned, so I was not engaging much in those life-defying activities. I was also dedicated to raising our beautiful baby daughter.

I say “much” because I did spend a few years drinking too much, but luckily for my health, I was able to quit totally. Sadly, my husband died at a young age from overdoing drugs and alcohol.

Over time, mostly from trial and error, I have learned to be more healthy, and the blessing of happiness has followed. I have practiced mindfulness for 45 years and have noticed more and more how food and lifestyle choices affect me.

I have not had any drugs or alcohol for at least 20 years except for a glass of fine wine once a year or so.

I’m sharing my story because I think you, too, may need to change at least one habit if you want to wake up laughing.

You’ve probably been telling yourself for years now that you need to quit a certain bad habit. We all have them. Besides fried foods, drugs and alcohol, a poor habit can include more subtle behaviors such as negative self-talk that drains your energy, courage, and self-esteem.

If you don’t transform your issues, they will continue to operate in your unconscious in ways that are, well, unconscious. Some signs of this state of mind are: getting triggered and blowing it, engaging in substance abuse or addiction, and acting out in crazy ways when you don’t mean to.

You may feel compelled to continue these behaviors, but they lead to being less successful and less happy. They can ruin your reputation, too. You may not be aware of it, but your employees may talk behind your back about what a jerk you are, and dream of the day they will be free of you.

If you want to tackle a habit and make a life change, I’m here to help. You can contact me at nina@ninacherry.com

The things I wake up laughing about are not the world’s greatest jokes or comedies. I laugh about the silliest things: small humorous events I recall or even things that I make up that set me to laughing. I do have a rich mind.

The point is that I feel good enough to laugh.

Here are some of the things I have thought of that make me laugh out loud in the early mornings. I know you’ll be rolling your eyes. LOL.

Ok. Here’s one:
I remembered talking to a friend and railing about misogynists. He said, ”I don’t know what that means but it can’t be good!”

This same friend gives me a lot of laughing material. He texted me yesterday: ”You’re talking to a guy who can be looking for his phone for five minutes and realize suddenly it’s in my hand. My mind and my body spend a lot of time looking for each other.”

And this:
I read in a doctor’s blog how the members of a tribe in Guam have seriously poisoned themselves over time by eating their most cherished culinary delight: bats boiled in milk – eyeballs, wings and all. I’m thinking to myself incredulously, “What did you expect!?!”

Ok, that’s gross, and actually very sad.

The story that caused me to laugh out loud when it happened and then again when I recalled it upon waking, was an incident with my three-year-old granddaughter. We were washing my car – she had the hose and I had the sponge – when suddenly this little girl turned around and sprayed me from head to foot with cold water! She loved every minute of watching me in shock, and I loved remembering her glee.

I also remember family clichés my parents or grandparents used to say when I was growing up. Here’s one: When I suggested my mother get in touch with a man who was interested in her after her divorce from my father, she said, “I need a man like a hole in the head!”

As you know, there’s no magic pill you can take to be happy. Even anti-depressants have side affects, like lower libido. Oh no!

Living in a state of well-being involves taking moments out of your busy days to reflect on what’s working and what’s not. It takes transforming poor habits and improving your self-care and making that a priority. It takes dedication to feeling good, noticing what makes you NOT feel good, and closely tracking your body.

The reward for the good work is waking up laughing!

In order to feel happily inspired, here are some of the things you may need to change:

— Quality of Self-care

— Elimination of Tolerations

— Choice of People to Engage With

— Work Aligned With Values

— Time in Nature

Let’s take a look at each one of these topics:

— Quality of Self Care –
Self-care is a reflection of how much we love ourselves. It is the key to real success, happiness, and longevity. You may make a ton of $$ but if you are sick or addicted to unhealthy behaviors, you won’t be enjoying your life to the max.

If we love ourselves a lot, we are not going to hang out with someone who hurts our feelings or spills their drama into our lives. We eat what makes us feel good, and substitute junk food and rich deserts with more healthy items. We get exercise several days a week and spend time in nature often.

I recommend getting exercise doing what you love. For me, going to the gym is so boring I can’t make myself do it. But put me out on my paddleboard skimming the reefs with the turtles and dolphins and I am a happy girl.

Do the activities you love most and make the effort to do them in nature. Have you heard of “Earthing” or “Tree bathing”? I recommend a wonderful book, To Be Healed By The Earth, by Warren Grossman, Ph.D. See page 175.

— Elimination of Tolerations
All of us, no matter how enlightened, are tolerating people, situations, and even our own habits that cause drains of energy, time, and money in our lives. Maybe we tolerate a job or a supervisor we just can’t stand. Perhaps we tolerate a 40-year-old “child” living at home. Maybe we make ourselves listen to the negativity or tripe our “friend” dumps on us time after time. Maybe we watch horror movies, porn, or too much television. Don’t you agree that what we watch or listen to is just as important to our health as the food we eat?

I can help you create a step-by-step action plan to let go of the things you are tolerating. You’ll be surprised at how much energy you will unleash that you can put towards doing what you love most. Think of that creative project you’ve been wanting to do for years. My tips can help you fund the energy to complete it, giving you a high sense of satisfaction and meaning in your life.

— Choice of People To Engage With
Tune in to how you feel around certain people. If relating with someone is causing you to feel angry or upset, is the person you are tolerating trainable? There are simple processes you can use to bring about a change in someone’s behavior. Here’s what you can say to almost anyone, even a boss:

When you do this ________________(behavior)__,
I feel this __________________(emotion and response)___.
Would you be willing to ____________________ (make this change?)___

If the person you are tolerating isn’t interested or able to improve their behavior, you might consider cutting down the time of contact, or even eliminating him/her from your life if at all possible.

— Work Aligned with Values
Are you clear about your values? Have you written them down? Do you know for sure if your work or business in alignment with your values? If it is not, ultimately you will not feel satisfied or fulfilled. Sometimes the work we engage in is not meaningful or challenging, or we are not using our skills and talents. As a result, we are depressed and our souls ache. You cannot fund a project or be passionate about your vocation when you are stuck in a conundrum like this.

It helps to get a journal or notebook and take time out to write about your values. On another page, list your top talents, gifts, and strengths. Does your present work align with your values and allow you to use your best skills?

— Time in Nature
There are beautiful hikes in nature wherever we live – we might have to drive a few minutes or get on our snowshoes or four-wheel drive boots if we are in cold weather.

Nature is a place to commune and remember what is really important in our lives. Nature feeds us. If you have forgotten this, I invite you to remember a time when this was so. Remember what it felt like. Let that feeling guide you to engage with nature once again. (Hint, this is not about playing golf.)

I search out wild places that are power spots for me – Haleakala Crater is one. Canyon De Chelly in Arizona is another. I like to hike alone for several hours at a time, enough to let the noise of the city and the intensity of the cell phones and computers melt away. Then I can tune into myself in a deeper way. I often get insights about the big picture of my life and revelations about my next steps. I check in with myself: is this what I want to create, or am I going headlong in a direction that‘s not what I truly want?

I always think of certain choices in mathematical terms – is it worth having a martini or a margarita or eating a piece of cheesecake that gives you 15 minutes of pleasure, but leads to 48 hours of feeling badly?

You might be surprised at how many people do not connect how they feel with what they ate or imbibed.

On days that I wake up feeling not so good, I review the day or two before. I try to remember what could have caused this. Was it all those chips I ate when I was hungry? Was it the mold I was exposed to when I cleaned out the filing cabinet in the carport? Did I stay too long on my iPad or a screen before bed?

My favorite practice of the day is waking up naturally without an alarm, lying in bed as the sun rises, and reflecting quietly on my life.

In order to wake up without an alarm, I suggest going to sleep early enough to feel rested the next morning.

In this precious, quiet, early morning time, I take time to breath deeply to feed my body and mind with fresh oxygen. This is when I usually think of some little thing that makes me burst out laughing. How novel, getting high on air!

I remember reading M. Scott Peck‘s book, The Road Less Traveled, many years ago. The message I remember from the book is his comparison of the kinds of choices we make daily. When we go for instant gratification, we get fleeting pleasures and sometimes unintended consequences. When we delay gratification and make thoughtful decisions based on the good of everyone concerned, we reap fulfilling long-term benefits. This is the true meaning of ROI.

I will leave you with this meaningful quote from Hafiz, a 14th century Persian poet (1315-1390 AD):

“Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins that may buy you just a moment of pleasure, but then drag you for days like a broken man behind a farting camel.“

Ha! Just remembering this quote might set you to laughing tomorrow morning.