Laughter is a powerful healing force and the most inexpensive medicine you will ever find! Laughter can strengthen your immune system, increase your intellectual performance and improve your cardiovascular flexibility.
Laughter is also an instant vacation. It can help you see the world from a broader perspective, expand your creativity and allow you to feel more deeply connected to the people you love. Laughter helps you release your stress, anxiety or depression and puts you back into the flow of life.
The Many Benefits of Laughter
In 1979, Norman Cousins wrote a book called “The Anatomy of an Illness” where he described fighting a life-threatening illness through humor. His remarkable story of triumph is still inspirational today.
Rather than staying in the hospital with other sick people, he rented a hotel room nearby and watched funny movies all day long. He and his doctor worked together to overcome his crippling and irreversible disease by practicing courage and laughter.
Cousins’ book started a revolution with many people beginning to realize the numerous benefits of laughter. Among many other benefits, laughter has been shown to:
- Lower stress hormones
- Ease anxiety and fear
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Strengthen relationships
- Decrease conflict
- Reduce chronic pain
- Provide physical and emotional catharsis
- Tone facial muscles
- Work as an anti-aging exercise
- Relax muscles
- Improve one’s mood
- Prevent heart disease
What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake laughter and real laughter. Apparently they both give the same physiological and psychological benefits.
Knowing this, Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India, launched the first Laughter Club at a park in 1995 with only a handful of people. Today, Social Laughter Clubs have become a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 6000 clubs in about 60 countries.
The goal of Laughter Yoga is to bring joy, health and world peace through expressing regular laughter. Participants in the Laughter Yoga Clubs report better health, relief from chronic medical problems, less colds and flu viruses and less depression.
Scientific research has proven that laughter has a profound impact on one’s immune system and even influences the survival of cancer patients. Laughter Yoga has made a major difference in the lives of many people with physical and mental disabilities. Laughter has also had a profound impact on prisoners, helping them to dissipate their negative feelings of anger and frustration.
What Decreases Our Ability for Laughter?
There are a number of habits and attitudes that decrease our capacity for spontaneous laughter. Some of these include:
- Negative thinking
- Poor self-esteem
- Expecting the worst
- Abusive behavior
- Unresolved conflicts
- Feelings of guilt
- Living with ‘shoulds’
- Unresolved emotional issues
When any of these are present, laughter has a way of just ‘going out the window’ or ‘getting lost in the shuffle.’
How Can You Reap the Benefits of Laughter in Your Everyday Life?
So let’s talk about what you can do to laugh more in your everyday life. I’ll share some of my ideas for bringing more laughter into your life and then you can share some ideas you have. Okay?
- Simply remember that laughter is important. By acknowledging the value of laughter, you create an opening in your mind for spontaneous laughter to emerge.
- Find funny little things to laugh about throughout your day. By choosing to see the funny side of life, you’ll become aware of funny ways of seeing the same things that normally seem very serious in your life.
- Practice regularly being silly rather than always presenting yourself as serious and professional. Silliness often brings people together in a positive way and establishes a deeper connection with others.
- Tell funny jokes to people in the grocery store line or at the car wash. You’ll be amazed at the positive feelings it can bring.
- Laugh with your children and teach them to notice funny things. The family who laughs together, stays together.
- Laugh at the same things you were crying about before. After you release your tears, you’ll often find some very funny material to laugh about.
- Wear funny clothes or funny accessories that make other people laugh. Can you imagine a pediatrician who wears stripes and polka-dots to work?
Never, Ever Laugh at Other People’s Expense!
There is just one cardinal rule of laughter. That is to never, ever laugh at anyone else’s expense. When you laugh at another’s expense, it completely destroys any benefits you or they would have experienced from your laughter.
But it’s completely okay to laugh at yourself, so long as you really think that what you’re laughing about is funny. If something you’re laughing about is not funny to you, change the subject and find something else to laugh about.
Leave a Comment or a Question
I’d love to hear your comments and questions.
What do you do to bring more laughter into your everyday life?
What would you like to hear more about?
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