World Laughter Day: Laughter can cure & remedy several of your problems. 7 ways to laugh more
World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May, and this year it is falling on May 7. World Laughter Day is the brainchild of an Indian doctor, Madan Kataria, who also started the worldwide movement Laughter Yoga. It was first celebrated in 1998 in Mumbai. The entire thing is based on the facial feedback hypothesis which states that one's facial expression directly affects their emotional experience. Charles Darwin is one of the earliest proponents of the hypothesis according to which, the physiological changes a person experiences because of an emotion, directly impact how you feel instead of simply being a consequence of that emotion.
In simple words, if you think that laughter is only possible when you are feeling happy, then according to the above theory, laughter can actually create conditions for you to feel happy. This is why laughter clubs have cropped up across the world. Here are a few reasons you should laugh more:
- Laughing reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body, thus fending off illnesses that happen due to anxiety.
- When you laugh, dollops of air enter your body, consequently adding oxygen to your blood.
- Laughter is also great for your immune system.
- Laughter also releases endorphins, the happy hormone, into your body, thus boosting positivity in your system.
- When you laugh, you create a positive state of mind and feel joyful overall.
- It is also known to medically make the healing process faster and reduce pain.
- Believe it or not, laughter also helps you shed a few calories.
- In social terms, laughter can strengthen connections between people.
Now that you know the benefits of laughter, you also might want to know how to go about it. Well, you can join a laughter club, but that might not be feasible for everyone. There are several other ways to make laughter a part of your life. Here are a few things you can do to laugh more.
1. Promise yourself to laugh more: Start with deciding that you will laugh every day, come what may. It is like any other resolution you take for fitness, like eating better and exercising more. Since laughter directly impacts your health, it becomes just as important as the other two. So strengthen your resolve and wake up every day with the thought that “I will laugh more today”.
2. Don’t overthink it: Often, at times, we think if we let out a laugh for a small reason, people might judge us. Stop doing that and start laughing at the small things that happen to you or around you every day. It could be something as small as bumping into someone or spilling something. Instead of looking at these things as a nuisance, smile and let out a small laugh. It is all about finding humour in everyday situations. Give it a try.
3. Include laughter in your morning routine: Since childhood, we have been taught to inculcate good morning habits as they ultimately become a part of you for a lifetime. So how about adding laughter to your morning routine? Listen to a funny story on a device or read a joke or a comic strip in the morning. This way you start your day on a good note which will spill over into the rest of your day.
4. ‘3 funny things’ exercise: If you think finding humour in everyday things is tough, try this exercise. Comedian Paul Osincup suggests a spin-off of the gratitude journal. Just as writing down things that you are grateful for reduces stress levels, similarly, writing down three things that made you smile during the day can decrease depression symptoms. It is known to increase your happiness levels and ultimately help you laugh at everyday things.
5. Smile: While smiling isn’t exactly laughter, it can provide you with the perfect platform to get started if you are someone who isn’t so sure of being able to simply laugh at just anything. Look at it as the first step towards laughing. Smiling creates the perfect environment for you to feel happy which ultimately can lead to laughter. Make a conscious effort to smile daily. You can look at a picture of your loved ones, your old friends, or play with your pet, anything that brings a smile to your face. Smile while starting a meal or just after waking up. Scheduling it in this way will serve as a reminder to smile when you do these things.
6. Watch a show that makes you laugh: Each one of us has a favourite film or a TV show that can make us laugh every time we watch it, no matter how many times we might have seen it before. Whenever you feel stressed or need to lift up your spirits, put it on and laugh away. This is a tried-and-tested method that is guaranteed to evoke laughter.
7. Make friends with a funny person: Your company dictates your state of mind immensely. If you are surrounded by negative people, expect negativity to surround you. The same goes for positive things. Having a funny person around you is a great way to smile and laugh more.