Tag Archives: laughter

The ABCs of Happiness

By Steve Wilson

Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.
Believe in yourself.
Consider things from every angle.
Don’t postpone joy!
Enjoy today. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.
Family and friends are hidden treasures.
Give up any anger you might have been hanging on to, but…
Happiness is like perfume: you can’t sprinkle it on others without getting some on yourself.
Ignore those who try to discourage you.
Jolly + jovial + jestful = joyful!
Keep on learning. Learn something new each day.
Look for humor in everyday situations.
Make smiles happen.
Never lie, cheat, or steal. Always strike a fair deal.
Open your eyes, and see the beauty in all of nature.
Play. You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.
Quiet times give us balance.
Read, study and learn about something new every day.
Stop and smell the roses.
Take control of what you can; let God have the rest.
Understand others first, then seek to be understood.
Visualize happy memories.
Work at making others happy.
X-ercise your right to be unique.
Zero in on laughter and go for it!

How can I laugh while travelling in public transportation without other people thinking I’m crazy?

The main challenge you face if/when you want to laugh in any public environment is your own mental conditioning of what you think you can and cannot do. It’s a big list of should and should nots, and it is self-imposed.

First things first: be clear on what it is you are trying to achieve. Do this for you, not for “them.” Laughing for “their benefit” is never authentic, lacks power, and can very easily be perceived as a form of aggression. Don’t go there. It’s unnecessary. Do it for you, that is: with them if they want to join or without them if they don’t. This is entirely different.

Next: you know rationally that laughing is good for you and hurts nobody else, so practice doing it over and over. Start with a smile. Once comfortable, upgrade to a giggle. The next step is to laugh freely and openly, because you can, whenever you want to.

It may help you to a) not make eye contact with anybody around you and b) find a socially acceptable way to do it. This could be putting a headset on your head, or a cellphone to your ear.

A different – clever – way is to get people to play, because playfulness naturally leads to laughter. Start blowing soap bubbles. Every time you make eye contact with someone, give them a bottle and invite them to do the same (buy them inexpensively at http://goo.gl/fUdsl). You will soon hear lots of laughter.

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Learn Laughter Yoga and Laughter Wellness online!

Everything You need to know about Laughter Yoga

What

Laughter Yoga is a joyful and healthy exercise regime using simulated laughter techniques and breathing exercises from the Yoga tradition. You don’t need jokes, a sense of humor or comedy. It’s very easy. It’s motto is “laugh for no reason.”

Who? Down History Lane

Laughter Yoga was started in 1995 by Dr Kataria, an Indian family practitioner, in a public park of Mumbai with just 5 people. It has since become a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of social Laughter Clubs on 5 continents who are spreading its message of joy, health and world peace through laughter. It was the first method to make easily accessible to the masses the many health benefits of laughter that the world of Laughter Therapy had already scientifically identified in its 30+ years of existence prior to 1995. Read more.

The link between laughter and yoga: Pranayahahama

Pranayama

The primary reason why Dr. Kataria named “Laughter Yoga” as such was because he incorporated Pranayama, the ancient science of yogic breathing, into the laughter exercises. Laughter Yoga is therefore a form of Pranayahahama

According to yogic philosophy, we are alive because the cosmic energy from the Universe flows into our body through the breath, which is the life energy force or “prana.” The very essence of our life is breathing. Whenever we get stressed or experience negative emotions our breathing becomes irregular and shallow, thus affecting the flow of prana in our body. Laughter helps reverse that process.

Here are some of the traditional Pranayama exercises that Laughter Yoga utilizes:

  • Kapalbhati is a famous yogic exercise that entails contraction of the throat and palate muscles and entails a jerky and rhythmic movement of the diaphragm to expel air in a series of bursts. This is precisely the foundation of the HO-HO, HA-HA-HA exercise between each laughter exercises.
  • Bhastrika and Swash Shuddhi are similar yogic exercises used to clean the respiratory passages in forceful jerks of breathing and the rhythmic contraction of lung and throat muscles – the very same muscles and actions used in Laughter Yoga during the HO-HO HA-HA-HA exercise and other playful laughter.

More traditional yogic exercises used in Laughter Yoga include:

  • Talasana is the yogic stretching of arms and exercising the neck and shoulders while taking a deep breath.
  • Simha mudra is the famous lion laughter of Laughter Yoga, which entails keeping the eyes wide open, fully extending the tongue, and roaring like a lion.


We encourage you to explore http://www.divyayoga.com/yoga-a-pranayam-videos.html. Patanjali Yogpeeth (one of the largest Yoga institutes in India) offers hours of free videos of Yoga Asanas & Pranayama exercises on this website.

The Yoga roots

Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Yoga is the science of right living and, as such, is intended to be incorporated in daily life. It works on all aspects of the person: the physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual.

The word yoga means “unity” or “oneness” and is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which means “to join.” It is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions. It includes many mental and physical disciplines.

The most popular of these disciplines in the Western world is Hatha Yoga, an approach concerned with balancing the energies through body postures (asanas). Hatha Yoga is primarily a solitary practice with no group interactions.

Here is a list of the other most popular branches of Yoga:

  • Bhakti Yoga is the spiritual practice of fostering loving devotion (bhakti) to a personal form of God.
  • Jnana Yoga is the “path of knowledge”
  • Karma Yoga is the science of achieving perfection in action
  • Raja Yoga is concerned principally with the cultivation of the mind using meditation techniques

A common objection: “why should we laugh? It doesn’t pay the bills”

 We live in a world where very few things can make people laugh, while hundreds can make them frown, howl and cry. Many people lose track of the therapeutic values of laughter when stress and adversity knock at their door.

“Why should we laugh?” they say. “It doesn’t pay the bills.”

Society teaches that problems are serious and need to be addressed seriously. Laughter, on the other hand, is often perceived as frivolous and only relevant in its proper time and place.

There is a different way to look at this.

Laughing in the face of adversity won’t pay your bills, but it will teach you equanimity. It is not about strength, but courage, because it’s about letting go. Only one who knows how to create a balance between the favorable and unfavorable situations can maintain mental balance and composure. Life is not always fun, but it certainly is much more fun with laughter than without.

Practices such as Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Wellness method help you feel at peace and good about yourself in the present moment, for no particular reason. They give you the ability to laugh at things that previously would have caused stress or anger, along with the ability to experience a new sense of forgiveness.

When you change, the world around you changes. When you feel good, you are more likely to address the challenges you have to face constructively and with a positive attitude.

You can laugh when you want to, because you want to, if you want to. You can train yourself to react positively in the face of adversity. Whatever happens to you, whether pleasant or unpleasant, doesn’t matter at all. Nerve impulses are just that ─ nerve impulses. They mean nothing.

Choosing to remain positive and be comfortable with your imperfections and the challenges in your life does not mean you have to be complacent about them. You should not. Laughing about them is a sign of maturity. It’s a political act, a declaration of freedom, a demonstration that we are not afraid, that we refuse to let fear, anger, guilt or resentment win and rule our lives.

How important are fun, laughter and play?

These are tough times in the United States. With unemployment at nine percent and a double-dip recession hanging in the balance, we are looking for solutions. But it is important to remember that solving some of our serious problems might require more than just serious fixes.

Fun is often thought of as superfluous, extra, something to get to when you have time and a tool not to be used in serious situations. In fact, we have sayings to reinforce this notion: “this is no laughing matter” or “serious times call for serious solutions.” But fun can be, and has been, a powerful tool for transformation when tapped appropriately, as our past and recent Nobel-Prize-winning women demonstrate.

Read the following article “The Nobel Peace Prize: A Laughing Matter?” from the Huffington Post. It most excellently explains the power and importance of fun as a valid solutions to address difficult problems.

Choosing to have fun, play or laugh in the face of adversity is not about being naive. Quite to the contrary, it is a sign of emotional maturity. If you are in the worst position you could possibly be in, you are there and can’t change that. What you can change though is your attitude about it. This is most critical because you need to take action, fast, and laughter will help you get a better perspective of what’s happening to you.

The wisdom that Laughter Yoga teaches can be summarized in not even a statement, it’s a question to constantly ask yourself: what can I do now with a positive attitude to address my current challenges. Me, not you, him, her or they. Do with the whole of me, not simply “try”. Now, not tomorrow.

I see it as one of the most powerful training that exist on how to get the best out of your own life that you can possibly get. At the end of the day, what happens to you is nowhere near as important as the meaning you assign to it. Nerve impulses are just that: they have no meaning of their own. Change your perception and you will change your experience of life.

Consider the following next step.

Study confirms: laughter is good medicine for dementia patients

Laughter may be good medicine for elderly dementia patients — and best of all, it doesn’t have side effects.

Australian humour therapist Jean-Paul Bell was originally a clown doctor working with sick children, but now he makes the elderly laugh through a programme called Play-Up.

Bell was also the key humour therapist in a Sydney-based study into the impact of humour therapy on mood, agitation, behavioural disturbances and social engagement in dementia patients, a study that showed those who took part seemed happier.

“The whole idea behind the Play-Up programme and what we’re doing at the Arts Health Institute is encouraging them to play more because we believe that they’ve got potential to keep playing right until you take your last breath,” Bell said.

He set up the Arts Health Institute to train aged-care staff in fostering playful relationships with their patients, particularly those with dementia.

The study, called the SMILE study, took place over three years, involving 36 nursing homes and 400 residents.

Dressed in a bright blue jacket with brass buttons and shoulder tabs, Bell uses a combination of games, jokes and songs — accompanying himself on a ukulele — to get the elderly to laugh.

In addition to seeming more content, the dementia patients involved in the study seemed less agitated by 20 percent, said lead researcher Lee-Fay Low at the University of New South Wale’s School of Psychiatry.

“Twenty percent sounds like a small effect but it’s about the same amount, the same effect as you would get if you gave them an antipsychotic medication — medication you would use to treat schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder,” Low said.

Best of all, the dementia patients weren’t the only ones who benefited from the study.

“The staff were invigorated, they felt that their jobs were enhanced,” said therapist Joanne Rodrigues.

“They were part of something that they could see the real benefits (of).”

Read more at http://www.artshealthinstitute.org.au/News/SMILE-Study-results.aspx

Links of interest:

Pain 10% more bearable after laughing with friends

Laughing with friends for around 15 minutes boosts a person’s pain threshold by an average of 10%, an international study has found.

A research team led by evolutionary anthropologists from Oxford University in the UK has concluded that the endorphins released by a big belly laugh in a social setting can make pain more bearable.

Noting that previous studies had found laughter was more likely when in a group than when alone, the researchers conducted experiments where groups of participants watched comedy clips, including Mr Bean, or live comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A control group was shown factual videos like golf tournament footage.

After viewing, the participants were given pain tolerance tests such as seeing how long they could withstand cold, a tight blood pressure cuff or do strenuous exercise.

“We tested the hypothesis that social laughter elevates pain thresholds both in the laboratory and under naturalistic conditions. In both cases, the results confirmed that when laughter is elicited, pain thresholds are significantly increased, whereas when subjects watched something that does not naturally elicit laughter, pain thresholds do not change (and are often lower),” the researchers wrote in their paper, which was titled “Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold” and published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“These results can best be explained by the action of endorphins released by laughter.”

Read the full article here.