WTF Fun Fact 13288 – The Healing Power of Laughter

March 19th is National Let’s Laugh Day in the United States, a day to celebrate the healing power of laughter. Laughter can reduce stress, boost the immune system, and improve overall well-being.

Science on the healing power of laughter

Laughter has some quirky effects on the body. For example:

  • Laughing increases oxygen flow to the brain. This can improve mental clarity and creativity.
  • Laughter can help relieve pain. It does this by releasing endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
  • Laughter has been shown to improve cardiovascular health. It can increase blood flow and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Laughing can help improve relationships and social bonding. That’s because it creates positive feelings and can be contagious.
  • In some cultures, laughter is considered a form of therapy. It’s used to treat a variety of physical and mental health conditions. Laughter can even help boost the immune system.
  • Laughing can increases the production of antibodies and activate immune cells.

A day to celebrate laughing

So, how can you celebrate National Let’s Laugh Day? Here are some ideas:

  • Watch a funny movie or TV show with friends or family.
  • Attend a comedy show or open mic night.
  • Practice laughing yoga or other laughter exercises.
  • Spend time with people who make you laugh.
  • Share funny stories or jokes with friends and coworkers.

Have you heard of “laughter yoga”?

Laughter yoga is a form of exercise that combines laughter with breathing techniques and gentle physical movements. It was developed in India in the mid-1990s by Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician who wanted to promote the health benefits of laughter.

In laughter yoga, participants engage in a series of laughter exercises. These stimulate laughter and promote feelings of joy and relaxation. These exercises may involve things like clapping, chanting, and playful interactions with other participants.

The goal of laughter yoga is not to tell jokes or be funny, but rather to engage in intentional, prolonged laughter. Laughing for an extended period of time, even if it’s initially forced or fake, helps the body produce genuine laughter, which helps release tension and promote feelings of well-being.

Researchers have found that laughter yoga has a variety of health benefits, including reducing stress, boosting the immune system, improving cardiovascular health, and enhancing mood. It’s also been used as a complementary therapy for a variety of health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Remember, laughter is a powerful tool for improving your physical and mental well-being. So, go ahead and let out a good belly laugh on National Let’s Laugh Day (and every day) to reap the benefits of this simple but effective form of therapy.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “National Let’s Laugh Day” — National Days Today

WTF Fun Facts 12744 – Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga was first introduced by Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician in Mumbai, India, in 1995. Using research that showed laughter can have beneficial effects on physical and mental health.

Since it was introduced, it has spread all over the world and has been shown to help improve mood through the release of serotonin and dopamine, improve cardiovascular function by improving blood flow to the heart, and reduce stress by suppressing cortisol levels.

Better yet, it’s free and doesn’t require anything but feeling a little bit silly.

What is laughter yoga?

You can do laughter yoga on your own, but doing it in a group setting (even via Zoom) has been shown to have further beneficial effects as it increases feelings of belonging and reduces loneliness.

According to Healthline (cited below): “Most sessions begin with simple breathing techniques, clapping, and chanting to help people relax. For example, you may begin the class by clapping rhythmically 1-2, 1-2-3 while chanting ‘ho-ho, ha-ha-ha.'”

We tried it. It does feel totally ridiculous at first. But eventually (and especially if you’re in a group), the fake laughter leads to real laughter. And your body doesn’t seem to know the difference anyway. Nothing actually has to be funny for you to get the mental and physical benefits that laughter brings.

Studies on the health effects

In addition, Healthline cited many studies pointing to proof of the benefits of laughter yoga:

“A 2019 review found simulated laughter lowered depression rates and improved mood. The authors stated that laughter exercises require little cognition and don’t rely on subjective humor, meaning most people can easily participate (Source 1).

Other studies have shown that laughing yoga may help temporarily reduce cortisol levels and stress, improve mood and energy levels, and induce a more positive mindset. In fact, it may be as effective as aerobic exercise at reducing self-reported stress (Source 2Source 3Source 4Source 5Source 6).”

Despite all the research, more large-scale studies need to be done to confirm the benefits. But in the meantime, a little laughter yoga probably wouldn’t hurt!

Check out the video below to see how you can get started. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Laughing Yoga: What Is It and Does It Work?” — Laughter Yoga