Today, May 3rd, is World Laughter Day! “When you laugh, you change and when you change the whole world changes around you.” ~ Dr. Madan Kataria
Dr. Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India and the founder of ‘Laughter Yoga’, held the first world laughter day in 1998. His mission? “Good health, joy and world peace through laughter”. Today there will be thousands of people in over 100 countries in our world all laughing together. Hee hee!
Wikipedia defines Laughing as a reaction to certain stimuli, fundamentally stress, which serves as an emotional balancing mechanism. Traditionally, it's considered a visual expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy. It may ensue from hearing a joke, being tickled, or other stimuli. It is in most cases a very pleasant sensation.
So why laugh? Many scientists, researchers and physicians around the globe are studying the phenomenon of laughter. It’s no joke! They are proving the many health benefits a good chuckle can instantly produce in your brain and body. And get this – it doesn’t matter if it’s a fake or real laugh. Your body can’t tell the difference!
According to the Mayo Clinic, a good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
1) Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
2) Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
3) Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:
1) Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
2) Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
3) Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It helps you connect with other people.
5 ways to improve (or gain) a sense of humor!
Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — funny bone? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.
1) Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos or comic strips that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office. Keep funny movies or comedy albums on hand for when you need an added humor boost.
2) Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
3) Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
4) Knock-knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library's selection of joke books and get a few rib ticklers in your repertoire that you can share with friends. You can find unlimited jokes and funny videos on the internet now too.
5) Know what isn't funny. Don't laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor aren't appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad, or hurtful, one.
This month I challenge you to laugh each and every day – again on behalf of your body, mind and spirit! As e.e. cummings pointed out - The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
Laughter Yoga is a revolutionary idea – simple and profound. An exercise routine, it is sweeping the world and is a complete wellbeing workout.
So take at least one minute today to join thousands of people in over 100 countries on our planet to lift your arms to the sky, say a prayer for world peace and give a hearty HA HA HA! You and our world will be better for it!