I love to laugh and I think that most other people do, too. I say most because I've certainly encountered my fair share of humorless, old fuddy-duddies! That man above would clearly NOT be considered one... Why some people don't embrace every opportunity to laugh wholeheartedly, I'll never understand!
It just makes you feel so good, and research has found that laughter does actually increase the body's endorphin levels which then results in natural pain relief. The release of those endorphins also causes the adrenal glands to manufacture cortisol, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help arthitis sufferers.
But WAIT, there's more!
It's not unusual for people who've suffered long-term depression to recover through laughter. But depressed people aren't usually laughing, right? Well, I just recently found out about something called Laughter Yoga that is being used as therapy for these people. And it's working!
Laughter Yoga was first introduced by an Indian physician by the name of Dr. Madan Kataria with the help of his yoga instructor wife Madhuri, back in 1995. It's not only an exercise routine, but a complete "wellbeing workout"! It combines laughter with yogic breathing. Supposedly, anyone can laugh for no reason without relying on jokes or comedy if it is simulated as a body exercise. When done in a yoga group with eye-contact and childlike silliness, it inevitably turns into real contagious laughter.
The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the human body can't differentiate between fake and real laughter, so one gets the same physiological and psychological benefits! How cool is that?!
Another great thing about laughter is that it's totally universal, with NO language or cultural barriers. Largely because of that, thousands of Laughter Yoga clubs have been popping up in as many as 60 countries around the world!
I'm so excited about this that I really want to join the movement! As it turns out, just this last Sunday (like every first Sunday in May since 1998) was celebrated as 'World Laughter Day'. Grrrr, why didn't I hear about this sooner? There's always next year, I guess... I'd better go mark the calendar!
In the meantime, I plan to find out about the nearest Laughter Yoga club and join it. Maybe, I can even get a certain female friend of mine to come along? Just for laughs, of course!
Special thanks to Laughter Yoga International, the Official Website of Dr. Kataria, for the information about this wonderful topic. If you would like more info and/or want to know how you can "join the club", here's that site's link: http://www.laughteryoga.org/