Disclaimer: you will laugh after trying this.

There was this really stupid/awesome thing I used to do as a joke with my friends when I was a junior in high school. We would Try and laugh with out smiling. I mean genuinely laugh without smiling.

$1 says you’re trying it right now as you read this.

It’s harder than it sounds!

Here’s the beginning of this whole “laugh without smiling” thing:

The year was 2008. I died my hair brown. I thought I was super trendy. I wore weird hats and scarves. I also tried to laugh without smiling with my friends. The result was awesome.

Just notice how in this video, us trying to laugh without smiling ultimately leads to a genuine laugh. It’s almost impossible not to burst out laughing when you try this technique.

Laughing makes you happy. It lowers stress. It’s therapeutic.

You might feel like an idiot while doing this, but you won’t if you make your friends do it with you as well. Up to this day, almost every person I’ve ever met, no matter how shy or reserved or serious they may be, crack a genuine smile when I challenge them to this.

I always used this as an ice breaker or something funny to do when out with my friends, but it hit me the other day that this is actually an amazingly therapeutic exercise for stress release!

Try it with your friends! Challenge someone to laugh without smiling! Best case scenario, you feel great and relieved of some stress. Worse case scenario, you end up laughing. It’s a win-win in my opinion.

So… can you laugh without smiling? Can you?

Staying humble and hopeful

Sometimes you’re on top. Stay humble. Sometimes you’ve hit a low. Stay hopeful.

A very simple concept that would make everyone’s lives 100% better if they actually put it into use.

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This is the motto for Lokai bracelets. Lokai braceletes were made to remind people of the highs and lows of life and everything else in between. You are going to have a day every now and then when you feel on top of the world or invincible. Extreme contrast, it’s also inevitable that you’ll have days when all of the hope and happiness in life seems like it doesn’t apply to you. And then there’s everything in between. The average days that don’t seem like much, but hold the highs and lows together. The bracelet is a reminder of this by having one bead filled with mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth and another bead filled with water from Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. The clear beads represent every other day where the highs and lows aren’t present. Together, they form a circle. According to the founder of Lokai bracelets, he says “I brought these two key elements together because life is full of cycles. The rest of the beads are clear because we all have our own story of balance to tell”.

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Finding balance, even during the highs, lows and middles of life is what keeps us sane and ultimately happy. The dramatic roller coaster may be exciting to ride when the lows aren’t too low and the highs aren’t too high, but it can also destroy us without finding that balance. Allow yourself to get lost in those moments and you forget what really matters: family, friends, loved ones.

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Me wearing my Lokai bracelet while on a run.

Finding the balance is really difficult for me. The lows make my physically ill. Most of life’s problems, I can deal with and I’m fine. But when something really knocks me down, I can’t eat or sleep and my brain goes into hyperactive mode while my body refuses to react to anything. The high points are also difficult for me to process. There’s no way to say it… but I get cocky. And arrogant. And I can be a bit of an asshole when I’ve succeeded at something.

Wearing this bracelet helps me find that balance. When I’m feeling cocky and arrogant at my success, I look down at the little white bead and remember that this is just a moment of life. I can be happy for myself, of course. But I can’t let myself think that I am better than anyone. Because we all of our highs. We all have our lows. And this reminds me that today is just my day but tomorrow might be someone else’s day. And that’s okay. If I let my head swell with pride, then when my day turns into someone else’s day, I will deflate and develop jealousy, anger, etc.

Same goes for my lows. Bad days don’t constitute a life. During those times, the little black bead reminds be that this is just one of those days. Flip that bracelet around and the little white bead is there, promising me of great times ahead as long as I stay hopeful and happy.

I highly suggest ordering a bracelet for yourself. It honestly has really helped me with my occasional emotional roller coasters and having a constant reminder worn around your wrist of staying hopeful and humble helps make the ride a little more smooth.