Laughter is the best medicine
When you laugh,
and when you change,
the whole world changes.
Dr Madan Kataria
Children laugh approximate four hundred times a day, while an adult will only laugh fifteen times a day, research has shown.
There are three major areas that sharing a laugh with a friend or colleague can benefit us: socially, mentally and physically.
Social benefits of laughter
– Strengthens relationships
– Attracts others to us
– Encourages spontaneity
– Builds rapport
– Enhances teamwork
– Defuses conflict
– Increases intimacy.
Dr Robert Provine Ph.D., (a neuroscientist who wrote Laughter: A Scientific Investigation (Penguin Books, 2001) said the health benefits of laughing may be a result of the social support it stimulates.
Mental benefits of laughter
– Reduces stress and anxiety
– Improves mood
– Enhances resilience
– Promotes wellbeing
– Boosts memory and alertness
– Increases happiness
– Shifts perspective.
Laughter yoga, also known as laughter therapy, has been introduced to enhance wellbeing amongst groups of people socially, in prisons, amongst patients, corporate clients etc. Dr Madan Kataria (an Indian physician from Mumbai) started the laughter club in a park on 13 March 1995 with five people. Today, laughter yoga is a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6000 social laughter clubs in over 60 countries including Australia, USA, China, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa. Dr Kataria believes “If laughter cannot solve your problems, it will definitely DISSOLVE your problems; so that you can think clearly what to do about them”.
Physical benefits of laughter
– Prevents heart disease
– Boosts immunity
– Lowers stress hormones
– Decreases pain
– Relaxes muscles
– Triggers the release of endorphins
– Exercises the diaphragm
– Reduces blood pressure
– Contracts the abs for a good work out 🙂
Being happy is the best cure of all diseases. According to Dr Hunter “Patch” Adams, laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease, cancer cells as well as viral, bacterial and other infections.
Dr Kataria, founder of Laughter Yoga, says laughter should not be left to chance: commit to it and go for it.
Tips for laughing everyday
– Watch a comedy (funny movie or TV show)
– Search YouTube for funny clips (don’t forget to share them with your friends)
– Go to a comedy club
– Read jokes online
– Seek out funny people to socialise with
– Share a good joke or a funny story
– Join a “laughter yoga” class
– Goof around with children
– Do something silly
– Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke)
– Ask your friends what’s the funniest thing to happen to them recently
– Follow the laughter and don’t be afraid to ask ‘What is so funny?’ – more often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humour you find in it.
Some laughing facts
– Speakers laugh more than listeners
– Men are more attracted to women who laugh heartily in their presence
– Lucky for women – we laugh 126% more than men
– When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy
– Laughing 100 times roughly equals 15 minutes on an exercise bike
– Studies have pinpointed 18 different kinds of smiles. The most common is the smile of enjoyment
– You have to smile nearly a quarter of a million times to make one wrinkle
– 15 minutes of laughter equals the benefit of 2 hours sleep
– One good belly laugh burns off 3 1/2 calories
– Laughing for 15 seconds adds 2 days to your lifespan
– The Chinese laugh more than any other culture in the world
– According to study by Dr. Michael Titze, a German Psychologist, in the 50’s people use to laugh an average of 18 minutes a day. Today, that’s down to four to six minutes a day.
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