Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Laughing Your Way to Happiness




We've all heard that old adage: Laughter is the best medicine, Volumes have been written and spoken about the value of laughter in life and how laughter can make us happy - even if we don't feel happy to start with. Laughter connects people and is part of the fine art of life happiness.


How does laughter relate to life happiness?


Think of this, babies and children have more than one way of showing that they are happy, but the most common way is through smiling and laughing. Research tells us that children up to pre-school age laugh about 300 times a day. 300 times! It's because to them, life is one big happy occurrence.
They have what they need and are not concerned in the least about what they don't have - children are experts at the art of happiness. They are happy to see mom and dad, so they smile and laugh.
They are happy to see their lunch, so they smile and laugh, they are happy to play with a ball, so they smile and laugh - they're happy! As adults, we laugh about 15 times a day. That doesn't mean that we're miserable, but it does indicate that as we grow up, we start to worry and concern ourselves with things, and unfortunately, we end up laughing less, and yes, we're probably not as innately happy as a two year old.
But that doesn't mean we can't be happier! One way to bring a sense of joy and happiness into our lives and practice the art of happiness is by adding laughter. Seems sort of backwards, sure, but if it works, does it matter? If you can add laughter to your life and discover that you find happiness in the process, isn't that great?


How will laughing help me to find happiness?


Laughing does a lot of good things for us. It gives our body a gentle work out by causing us to use muscles in the face, chest and abdomen. It causes us to breathe deeply, cleansing our system. It raises the heart rate, and causes endorphins (feel good hormones) to be released.
Laughing makes us feel the same way eating really good chocolate or having sex makes us feel. After a good belly laugh, we feel relaxed and alive and energized. Wait, those are things a happy person might feel! And whatever it is that made us laugh, later when we think about it, we will probably laugh, or at least smile again, continuing the "feel goods".


How can I add laughter to my life?


You can add to your overall life happiness by adding a good dose of sincere, happy laughter to each day. Here are some ideas:


1. Make a point to watch very funny movies or TV programs that really make you laugh a couple times a week.

2. Rent DVDs of your favorite comedian and watch with a group of friends (or your cat - that's OK too).

3. Play and be silly with small children. They know how to make everything fun.

4. Play fun games that induce laughing - games like charades and Pictionary™ are good examples.

5. Have your favorite comic strips emailed to you or set to appear on your homepage everyday.

6. Look into laughing therapy - there are schools and therapists out there that will help you "learn" to laugh.

7. Just laugh - even if you sincerely fake a laugh, you will begin to authentically laugh because it's so darned silly sounding when you fake it!

Laughter is a valuable part of your authentic happiness! Laughing each and every day is as good for you physically, emotionally and spiritually as taking your vitamins and getting exercise.

Enjoy a good laugh today!


By Winsome Coutts

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Laugh a Day to Keep the Doctor Away?

A hearty laugh a day may keep the doctor away, say the findings of a unique study. Whereas previous studies have examined how negative emotions can adversely affect our health, this study took a new spin--they measured the affect of watching a funny movie on the ability of heart blood vessels to expand. And they found some surprising results--laughing increased blood flow as much as a 15- to 30-minute workout.

The ability of blood vessels to expand is known as vasodilation. Poor vasodilation means that passageways may be blocked and blood flow may be cut off. The result is an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

In the study, 20 healthy men and women watched clips of two movies--a violent battle scene from "Saving Private Ryan" or a humorous scene from a comedy such as "Kingpin." Each participant's vasodilation was measured prior to the movie and again afterward.

The results were "dramatic." Of the 20 participants who saw the stressful film, 14 had significantly reduced blood flow. However, after watching the funny film, 19 of the 20 volunteers had significantly increased blood flow. Specifically:
  • Blood flow decreased by about 35 percent after experiencing stress
  • Blood flow increased by 22 percent after laughing, which is equivalent to what happens after a 15- to 30-minute workout

Past studies have found that stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol, which is released when a person is stressed, may harm the body by suppressing the immune system and constricting blood vessels. On the other hand, the researchers believe laughing causes the body to release beneficial chemicals called endorphins, which may counteract the effects of stress hormones and cause blood vessels to dilate.

In a similar manner, laughing may also boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, which is thought to increase the risk of various health problems.

The researchers say they have a long way to go before their hypothesis will be proven, but they point out that there's no downside to laughing and they have no problem recommending it to their patients.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Telephone Laughter


Implemented by Gaga Barnes, "Laughter Yoga on the Phone" is a unique idea that unites people in remarkable, spontaneous and hilarious sessions of healing and health.

It's easy. It's free. And it's oh so fun!

Free!
(This phone number is in Iowa, USA. There may be a toll charge by your phone company depending on your existing call plan - or absence thereof - with them.)

Anytime!
Laugh while listening to the latest recorded call!Dial 712.432.3903 Access Code 6071292#

Inspired?
Help us add more sessions! Gaga's dream is to have telephone laughter available on the clock, 24h/day, every day of the year. We're 100% behind her.
If you think you can or could help lead a session on a particular day / time beyond what is currently scheduled, please
1) click here to contact Gaga Barnes or call 760 889-6114
2) let us know the outcome of your conversation should anything manifest. We'll update this page right away. What is the value of being the best kept secret in town?





Thursday, October 2, 2008

Telephone Laughter Clubs

Telephone Conference Laughter Clubs / Laughter Buddies

In India laughter clubs are held every day thereby helping people to reap enormous health benefits as they laugh regularly. But, in the Western countries laughter clubs happen just once a week leaving many wanting for more. Realizing their need for daily laughter, I devised certain techniques and exercises that would help people to laugh all by themselves.

The new concept of Laughter Yoga Alone is inspirational for those wanting to laugh daily and experience the healing power of laughter for both mental and physical wellness. It is especially beneficial for the old and the disabled and for those who find it difficult to go to a laughter club on a daily basis.

It will also help to generate more awareness about the clubs and the tremendous heath benefits of laughter as an exercise. It will encourage more and more people to join the clubs and practice these exercises for good health and well being.

In my search for different techniques to laugh alone at home, one of the most ingenious was to have ‘Laughter Buddies' on the phone. It all started last year when Jackie Curran, a laughter teacher from Sydney, formed a telephone buddy with whom she laughed once every week. She found it extremely uplifting and energizing. The concept proved to be very beneficial as laughter leaders all over the world picked up this practice.

The American Breakthrough
I was pleasantly surprised when our laughter leader Gaga from California started a telephone conference laughter session called a ‘Bridge line', with nearly 20 - 30 people laughing every day at 9 a.m. California time for 20 minutes.
The experience was similar to being in a Laughter club. It caught on rapidly and they now have four laughter lines at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wow!! Very good very good Yeah!!!!
Anyone interested in joining the Telephone Laughter Club please call 712-432-3900 Access code is 6071292#

The Australian Laughter line
Inspired by the American success story Jackie, the laughter lawyer from Sydney wasted no time in setting up the first Australian Telephone Conference Laughter Club every Monday at 6 pm.
For joining the Australian Telephone Laughter Clubs This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->">
There are 2 dial in access numbers Sydney 61 2 82 46 72 10 and 1800 692 663 After dialling they need to enter the PIN number which changes from time to time.. so anyone wanting to call needs to register at the enquiry form on my web site. www.laughterlawyer.com.auLaughter Lawyers Laugh line calls take place at 9 am and 6 pm Sydney time on both Mondays and Wednesdays every week.

Thank you both Jackie and Gaga and other laughter professors of California. You have created history and shown a new direction to get more and more people laughing on a regular basis. This will help to generate more awareness about the benefits of laughter.
We want more and more readers to take the initiative to start with these telephone laughter clubs in other parts of the world. Is anybody listening?

Laughter is still the best medicine!

Lotte laughs on the phone!
Laughter is still the best medicine!
The St Albans Laughter Club are sending their unique form of therapy down the line with a new venture.
The credit crunch, financial crisis, violent crime, anger management – it seems that all there ever is these days is bad news, and anybody would be forgiven for feeling a bit miserable.
Well, the St Albans Laughter Club claim to have the best remedy, and the clue is in the title!
Following the success of their monthly laughter sessions, the club are now sending chuckles down the line with the launch of the Telephone Laughter Club.

Every weekday morning at 7.00am you can dial into a conference call where you can laugh along with others in an alternative therapy that will really set you up for the day!

De-stress
Laughter Clubs were started in India in 1995 by Dr Madan Kataria, who was doing research into the health benefits of laughter.
Lotte Mikkelsen set up her Laughter Club in St Albans in 2004 after seeing the success of similar clubs in her native Denmark, where they have about 250 clubs all over the country.

A laid back affair.
Now, every second Sunday of the month, in a quiet residential street in Bricket Wood, giggle devotees gather to just laugh, in exercises and meditations guided by Lotte, in sessions that are completely free of charge! The idea is that the laughter is de-stressing, and as a result people become more creative and productive and are better able to deal with the challenges of every day life.

It has been so popular that Lotte has now decided to take it further so that people can laugh on a more regular basis.
“The reason for starting the Telephone Laughter Club is that the laughter club is only once a month and to get all the benefits on an on-going basis you really want to do this every day” explained Lotte.

“With the monthly Laughter Club we meet in person and go through certain laughter exercises. In the telephone laughter club it’s free laughter straight away - and it’s only five minutes!
“It costs 5p per minute so that’s about £1.50 a week” she added.
“And I think it’s definitely worth it because the benefits you gain from it are unbelievable.
“It gives you this boost, you feel great, you feel relaxed and you feel that you can cope with anything.”

Lotte explained that the benefits of laughter are that it relaxes you, boosts your creativity and strengthens your muscles. But how does this work?
“It reduces your stress levels because when you’re stressed your cortisol stress hormone level is really, really high” Lotte revealed.
“When we laugh we release endorphins which suppress the cortisol, and that’s why we feel relaxed.

“It doesn’t make the problems go away of course” she added, “because they are still going to be there, but you are much more capable of actually dealing with the problems because you can sit back and take a look at them from a completely different perspective.”

Creativity
Many people are now buying into this idea and as a result, Lotte now runs laughter workshops for companies and organisations to de-stress their employees and promote team-building.
The concept of laughing for no reason is also said to heighten creativity because you are using the side of the brain that is used for this. Lotte explained how this worked.

“When Laughter Clubs started in 1995, they started laughing by telling jokes” she said.
“But the thing about telling jokes is that it engages the left side of the brain which deals with logic and judging and you decide whether it’s funny or not. And that’s one of the reasons that it didn’t work that well at first because people were thinking about whether to laugh or not.
“So they had to come up with a completely different concept and came up with laughing for no reason. And by doing that you engage the right side of the brain.

Tears of laughter, honest!
“This is one of the reasons why we just start laughing on the phone. When I phone into the Telephone Laughter Club I just start laughing straight away instead of saying good morning or anything. I just start laughing because it’s just engaging the right side of the brain.”
Social

And relaxation and creativity are not the only positive results of laughing. According to Lotte, when we laugh we are much more social, and just because her new venture means that you are laughing on your own on the phone, it doesn’t mean you are isolated.

“Because we’re on the phone we are by ourselves but we still connect with people in some way” she said.
“And it also makes you feel more up for connecting with people during the day. I can certainly recommend it.”
And then there are the physical benefits too, as Lotte revealed.
“I read an article where it said that if you want to train your inner most abdomen muscles, which are the core muscles that are really, really important to keep firm, then the only way that you can do that properly is not by sit ups, it’s by having a good belly laugh” she said.
And also, according to Lotte, research shows that two minutes laughing is equivalent to 20 minutes on the rowing machine so you can replace your gym visits with laughing! Result!

Playful
In India there are about 3,500 laughter clubs where people laugh every day but Lotte admits that in the UK, if we have ten active laughter clubs we’re probably quite lucky. So why is this? Why do the British find it difficult to just laugh?

“I think that it’s a challenge to run it here in the UK but at the same time it’s a fun challenge. It takes a bit longer to get people into the idea that you can actually do this and it’s OK to look a bit silly and maybe foolish” suggested Lotte.
“Most of us have this fa├žade where we think that this is how the world sees us and we shouldn’t step outside that, and when you get into the Laughter Club, you have to break that barrier down.

“When I start dialling in [to the Telephone Laughter Club] I think to myself that this is a really, really a silly thing to do! And maybe it’s that thought that just inspires the laughter.
“I get into that frame of mind where I think it’s easy to laugh because it is really silly, but it’s a good silly thing. Silly is not just for children, it’s for everybody. We get so, so serious when we grow up and it’s about time that we got a little bit more playful! We’re much, much better at dealing with problems if we are a bit playful and have a little bit of fun.

“We build up a lot of challenges in our lives, which come up and face us and we think we can’t deal with them, so I think it’s definitely something that people should dial into. There’s room for 250 people on the conference call!”

Telephone Laughter Club

The Laughter Club International (UK) started in St. Albans in June 2004 and is as active as ever.
From 15th September we expand our monthly laughter...
Every morning from Monday to Friday at 7:00am BST (GMT+1) we will be laughing on the phone.
Please dial into phone number +44 (0)844 774 2424, conference ID 807911.
Why Telephone Laughter Club?
In India laughter clubs are held every day. This helps people benefit tremendously and boost their health as they laugh regularly.

However, in the Western countries Laughter Clubs happen just once a week, or in many cases once a month, which means many people want more as they experience the health benefits.
When I started the Laughter Club in St. Albans in 2004 I had a 'laughter buddy' who I laughed with every morning at 7am to initiate the day in a great and inspiring way.

Today the US and Australia run very successful Telephone Laughter Clubs and this has inspired me to start the daily telephone laughs here in the UK. Anyone is welcome to dial into the daily laughter - no matter where in the world you are based.

The experience was similar to being in a Laughter club.
Anyone interested in joining the Telephone Laughter Club please call +44 (0)844 774 2424, conference ID 807911.
Our first Telephone Laughter is on 15th September 2008 at 7:00am BST (GMT+1). We will laugh for 15 minutes!

I look forward to laughing with you!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The new miracle drug: laughter!

Has anyone seen my new sweater?" yelled a "6-year-old from her upstairs bedroom. "You mean the one that cost $60?" shouted her father from the living room.
"You mean the stupid one that makes you look fat?" offered her brother from his adjoining bedroom.
"You mean the one with the low neckline?" inquired Grandma from the kitchen.
"You mean the one that has to be washed by hand in cold water?" demanded Mother from the laundry room.

If you fail to see the humor in that family situation, you may have a serious problem (pun intended). Dr. William Fry refers to laughter as stationary-jogging that benefits the entire body. Actually, there is hardly a system in your body that a good laugh doesn't stimulate. Norman Cousins, the famous editor of Saturday Review, cured himself of a serious collagen illness using massive doses of vitamin C and a tremendous amount of laughter every day. More than 60 years ago the world-famous physical culturist Bernarr MacFadden proclaimed laughter as a valid exercise and wrote about his laugh cure.

Most of us suffer from information overload concerning those things that we are powerless to change. Even a collection of one-liners read on a daily basis can lift one's spirits from the pits of despair. Laugh therapy is especially effective when shared with a friend or loved one. Your laughter ignites each other's funny bone and raises your level of hilarity.
Psychologist Alice M. Isen and colleagues recruited college undergraduates for a series of studies about how mood affects creativity. Given a book of matches, a box of tacks, and a candle, the students were asked how they would affix the candle to a corkboard so that, when burning, the candle did not drip wax on the floor below. Before attempting to solve the problem, some of the students watched a comedy film of television bloopers designed to put them in a good mood. The other group watched Area Under a Curve (a math film).

The researchers found that 75 percent of the students put into a cheerful mood by the comedy film correctly solved the problem. In contrast, only 20 percent of those who watched the math film came up with the correct answer. (If you are the curious type, the solution was to empty the box and tack it to the wall to make a platform for the candle.)

Another study indicates that a good belly laugh may actually make you less sensitive to pain. Using 20-minute segments, one group listened to a Lily Tomlin tape (remember "one ring-a-dingy"?), another listened to a relaxation tape, a third heard a lecture on ethics, and the final (control) group did not listen to a tape. Using a blood pressure cuff to create pain, they found that both the relaxation and laughter groups had significantly higher pain thresholds than the others.

To determine if the laughter had merely distracted the subjects, the researchers conducted a second study in which groups either listened to a Bill Cosby tape, an Edgar Allan Poe reading, or a lecture; performed a series of multiplication tasks; or heard nothing. This time the pain threshold was measured both before and after the experiment. Only those students who listened to the comedy tape showed a significant increase in their ability to withstand pain. On average, they withstood 20 percent more pain than the other groups. The researchers point out that laughter is a naturally occurring response and might be particularly useful against short-term pain of injections or recovery from minor surgery. Perhaps we should add another category of short-term pain--final exams!

"It is possible," writes one researcher, "that laughter releases chemicals in the brain, beta-endorphins and enkephalins, which are natural painkillers. These painkillers may be as much as 100 times stronger than any morphine or opium-based drug we can take." It is interesting to me that, according to the Bible, God revealed to humankind the power of laughter thousands of years ago "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).

According to at least one expert in the field of humor, your daily laugh total should equal at least 15 chuckles a day or you are underlaughed. Unfortunately, knowing you should laugh does not guarantee you will do it. Fortunately, for those of you with an undiscovered funny bone, researchers at the University of Florida discovered that a sense of humor can be learned and cultivated.

First, keep in mind that you don't have to have a reason to laugh. In fact, when you try to explain why you are laughing, it may not seem funny anymore. Initially you may feel awkward or even embarrassed by your laughter. If necessary, lock yourself in your room and practice laughing in the mirror. Before long you will have tears rolling down your cheeks as you learn to laugh at yourself. Once you make the decision that laughter is a priority in your life, then the awkwardness or embarrassment will be easier to tolerate.

You will notice a loss of muscle control when you really begin to laugh. That's why you bend over or fall out of your chair. Your diaphragm sets up a chain reaction in your body. As the diaphragm automatically convulses, it shakes up your stomach and other vital organs. You get an internal massage or, as one researcher calls it, internal jogging. Have you ever laughed until your sides hurt? That is caused by your diaphragm pulling on your side muscles with each convulsion.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Humor, Laughter and Health

BRINGING MORE HUMOR AND LAUGHTER INTO OUR LIVES

The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. Humor and laughter can cause a domino effect of joy and amusement, as well as set off a number of positive physical effects. Humor and laughter strengthen our immune systems and help us recover from illness, as well as bring joy into our lives. The question is, how do we gain access to this priceless medicine?

Health benefits of humor and laughter
"Laughter activates the chemistry of the will to live and increases our capacity to fight disease. Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers. Some research suggests that laughter may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Historically, research has shown that distressing emotions (depression, anger, anxiety, and stress) are all related to heart disease. A study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at stressful situations helps mitigate the damaging physical effects of distressing emotions.

A good hearty laugh can help:

  • reduce stress
  • lower blood pressure
  • elevate mood
  • boost immune system
  • improve brain functioning
  • protect the heart
  • connect you to others
  • foster instant relaxation
  • make you feel good.


Laughter's Effects on the Body


Laughter lowers blood pressure.

People who laugh heartily on a regular basis have lower standing blood pressure than the average person. When people have a good laugh, initially the blood pressure increases, but then it decreases to levels below normal. Breathing then becomes deeper which sends oxygen enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body.
Humor changes our biochemical state.
Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases infection fighting antibodies. It increases our attentiveness, heart rate, and pulse.
Laughter protects the heart.
Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to the study at the University of Maryland Medical Center (cited above). The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
Laughter gives our bodies a good workout.
Laughter can be a great workout for your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It massages abdominal organs, tones intestinal functioning, and strengthens the muscles that hold the abdominal organs in place. Not only does laughter give your midsection a workout, it can benefit digestion and absorption functioning as well. It is estimated that hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the rowing machine or the exercise bike.
Humor improves brain function and relieves stress.
Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information

Humor improves mental and emotional health
Humor is a powerful emotional medicine that can lower stress, dissolve anger and unite families in troubled times. Mood is elevated by striving to find humor in difficult and frustrating situations. Laughing at ourselves and the situation helps reveal that small things are not the earth-shaking events they sometimes seem to be. Looking at a problem from a different perspective can make it seem less formidable and provide opportunities for greater objectivity and insight. Humor also helps us avoid loneliness by connecting with others who are attracted to genuine cheerfulness. And the good feeling that we get when we laugh can remain with us as an internal experience even after the laughter subsides.


Mental health professionals point out that humor can also teach perspective by helping patients to see reality rather than the distortion that supports their distress. Humor shifts the ways in which we think, and distress is greatly associated with the way we think. It is not situations that generate our stress, it is the meaning we place on the situations. Humor adjusts the meaning of an event so that it is not so overwhelming.


Here are some additional things we can do to improve our mood, enjoyment of life and mental health.

  • Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them – this helps improve our disposition and the disposition of those around us.
  • Use cathartic laughter to release pent-up feelings of anger and frustration in socially acceptable ways.
  • Laugh as a means of reducing tension because laughter is often followed by a state of relaxation.
  • Lower anxiety by visualizing a humorous situation to replace the view of an anxiety-producing situation


Humor helps us stay emotionally healthy
A healthy sense of humor is related to being able to laugh at oneself and one's life. Laughing at oneself can be a way of accepting and respecting oneself. Lack of a sense of humor is directly related to lower self esteem. (Note that laughing at oneself can also be unhealthy if one laughs as a way of self degradation.)


Mental Health Benefits of Laughter

  • Humor enhances our ability to affiliate or connect with others.
  • Humor helps us replace distressing emotions with pleasurable feelings. You cannot feel angry, depressed, anxious, guilty, or resentful and experience humor at the same time.
  • Lacking humor will cause one's thought processes to stagnate leading to increased distress.
  • Humor changes behavior – when we experience humor we talk more, make more eye contact with others, touch others, etc.
  • Humor increases energy, and with increased energy we may perform activities that we might otherwise avoid.
  • Finally, humor is good for mental health because it makes us feel good!


Social benefits of humor and laughter
Our work, marriage and family all need humor, celebrations, play and ritual as much as record-keeping and problem-solving. We should ask the questions "Do we laugh together?" as well as "Can we get through this hardship together?" Humor binds us together, lightens our burdens and helps us keep things in perspective. One of the things that saps our energy is the time, focus and effort we put into coping with life's problems including each other's limitations. Our families, our friends and our neighbors are not perfect and neither are our marriages, our kids or our in-laws. When we laugh together, it can bind us closer together instead of pulling us apart.


Remember that even in the most difficult of times, a laugh, or even simply a smile, can go a long way in helping us feel better

  • Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
  • Humor unites us, especially when we laugh together.
  • Laughter heals.
  • Laughs and smiles are enjoyed best when shared with others.
  • To laugh or not to laugh is your choice.


Bringing more humor and laughter into our lives
If laughter is the best medicine, where is the pharmacy where we can fill our prescriptions?


Although healers have intuitively known for centuries that laughter and humor are beneficial for health and well-being, in our modern world we have only very recently begun to scientifically investigate the relationship.


And though we’ve begun to measure the benefits humor has on our health, we have yet to focus on the question of how to bring humor and laughter into our lives as therapy.


Nevertheless, pioneers in this new discipline are out there in their wagon trains braving the trails. We’ve collected their early findings and present them as follows.


Developing our sense of humor
Laughter is a birthright, a natural part of life. The part of the brain that connects to and facilitates laughter is among the first parts of the nervous system to come on line after birth. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.


We may begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as we do with working out. But eventually, we want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of our lives, finding it naturally in everything we do. Here are ways to start.

  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
  • Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with people who have successfully incorporated humor into their lives. These are people who naturally take life lightly, who routinely find ordinary events hysterical. Their points of view and their laughter are contagious.


Incorporating humor into everyday life
Here are two examples of people who took everyday problems and turned them around in order to bring more humor into their lives and to help solve the situation at hand, and even others unrelated to it.


Semi-retired, Roy finally had the chance to play golf seriously and often. But before long, he realized he wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as he had hoped. Every poor shot, and all golfers hit them, was cause for remorse. But Roy wisely realized that his golfing companions affected his attitude, and he began playing only with those capable of keeping the game in perspective. Now the game was as much fun as Roy hoped it would be. He scored better without working harder. And the brighter outlook he was getting from his companions and the game spread to other parts of his life, including his work.
Jane worked at home in her apartment complex designing greeting cards. Two pre-school girls who loved to make paper dolls lived nearby. Eventually, Jane invited the girls in to play with all the art supplies she had. At first, she watched but in time she joined in. For a year, Jane and the girls played together nearly every day.
Making paper dolls and doll clothes, laughing and playing pretend with the little girls transformed Jane’s life. It sparked her imagination, helped her artwork flourish, brightened her outlook, and best of all rekindled her playful side in her relationship with her husband.


Spending time with children is one way to enhance our playfulness, add humor to our lives and help take ourselves less seriously. Not taking ourselves so seriously is an important component in adding humor to our lives.


Taking ourselves less seriously
Angels can fly because they take things lightly - Anonymous


Some events are clearly sad and not occasions for laughter. But most don’t carry an overwhelming sense of sadness or delight. Most fall into the gray zone of ordinary life, and they give us the choice to laugh or not.


One characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-jawed sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there.


Here are some ways we can lighten up.

  • View your life in context. Even world leaders realize they have limited ability to affect others’ lives. While we might think taking the weight of the world on our shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy and even egotistical.
  • Be less serious. Realize that while your ambitions may be noble, being overly serious about them weighs you down and lessens your chances for achieving them.
  • Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
  • Dress less seriously.
  • Keep a toy on your desk or in your car.
  • Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.
  • Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.


Checklist for lightening up

When you find yourself taken over by what seems to be a horrible problem, ask these questions:

  • Is it really worth getting upset over?
  • Is it worth upsetting others?
  • Is it that important?
  • Is the situation irreparable?Is it really my problem?

Creating opportunities to laugh

  • Watch comedy DVD’s and TV shows. Remember classics like the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges.
  • Go to comedy clubs.
  • Listen to comedy while driving.
  • Read comic authors.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Spend less time with overly serious people.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”


Making sure your humor won’t offend
Humor can be used as a weapon to belittle others or “score points” in some fashion. Use humor with care by being mindful of the following.

  • Use humor at the expense of yourself or a group you are part of, rather than at someone’s else’s expense.
  • Don’t use humor when someone else is in so much pain that humor will not make them feel better. When someone is physically injured, suffering a serious crisis, or when you are attending a somber event, such as a funeral, humor, no matter how clever or well-intended, will not make people feel better.
  • Use humor that everyone present can enjoy. Inside jokes can make people feel excluded. Adult humor in the presence of children is unhealthy for the children, troublesome for their parents or guardians and thoughtless on the part of the would-be comedian.

Related links for humor, laughter and health


Rotary Jokes: Laughter is the Best Medicine Laughter activates the chemistry of the will to live and increases our capacity to fight disease. And the good feeling that we get when we laugh can remain with us as an internal experience even after the laughter subsides
Learn More


Other Related links
University of Maryland Media News has several articles that offer results of a study that shows a good sense of humor may help prevent heart disease and heart attacks. The articles also contain a multiple-choice humor survey to rate your "laugh protection" against heart disease..

Joke Sites

Henny Youngman Jokes – The definitive Henny Youngman collection (Funny2.com)
Steven Wright Jokes - The Master of the Absurd (Funny2.com)
Good Clean Funnies List Archive – This list contains links to clean jokes. (Good, Clean Funnies List)
Yahooligans! Jokes – Provides jokes for kids. Clean jokes in 12 categories with a Joke of the Day feature. (Yahoo Kids)

Leslie Lindeman, Gina Kemp, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, PhD contributed to this article. Last modified on: 9/26/07..

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Laugh and the world laughs with you

Peter Parkes on June 30, 2008 in Campaigns and promotions, Events.

Did you know that we only smile 35% as much as we think we do? And that the longest recorded laughing fit was in a village in Tanzania in 1962 and lasted two years? Two years?!
Well, 1962 was ages ago. At Skype, we've decided it's high time we had another laughter epidemic -- but this time it should be around the world. So, we're creating the world's first and longest giggling fit, and we want you to join it
Just plug in your webcam, watch the start of the chain below, and film yourself watching it. Send us your video and your laugh could be added to the chain.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

11 Refreshing Ways to Find Your Own Sanctuary

25 June 2008 525 views 9 Comments Print This Post Email This Post Home »Growth
Photo Courtesy of Tostie14

This is Part II of an ongoing series - Find your own sanctuary.

Find your own Sanctuary Part 1 - With Nature focussed on spending time in nature, absorbing the beauty, the stillness, the calmness, the sounds at different times of the day to relax and rejuvenate.

Find your own sanctuary II is all about getting refreshed and re-energized in totally unexpected ways. Unexpected because we have not really seen them as a possible refreshment option. Unexpected because inspite of knowing that they work, we sometimes forget about them and lose out on some simple refreshment options.

11 Refreshing Ways to Find Your Own Sanctuary

1. Have fun with water.Splash water on your face, take a bath or shower to relieve tension, go for a swim, play with kids in water.

2. Use laughter therapy. Laugh and smile. Read comic books, watch your favourite comedy re-runs, share a joke, tickle your spouse.

3. Bring out the chef in you. Use food therapy. Not by eating - but by cooking. Treat your spouse with a day off. Use variety of vegetables, add a dash of spices, savour the flavour. Be creative. Create a recipe of your own.

4. Bring out those dusty photo albums. Get those photo albums, videos and letters. Go through them. Share your stories, pass comments and have a blast with your family along the way.

5. Meet the kid in you. Each of us is a kid at heart. Be that kid. Go to garden and swing, pick up your favourite sports and play to your hearts fill, forget about everything other than playing and having fun. Laugh, giggle and be silly.

6. Exercise. Put on your running shoes and go for a sprint, go to gym and work out for a while, take a yoga class, aerobic class - use your body in some form and exert it a bit. Give mind some rest.

7. Catch up with song, dance and movies. Listen to music, humm a song, dance to your favourite numbers. Catch up with your favourite movies and quote all dialogues as you know them by heart.

8. Be a friend. Call up good old friends and catch up with them, chat with your neighbours and be friend them, meet up with friends and spend time together.

9. Spend time with family. Take your spouse on a date, have a long walk and long long conversations. Take kids to parks and play with them. Spend time at home with family.

10. Take a break from technology. Unplug your phone, have a laptop/internet free day. Spend some time with yourself. Spoil yourself, treat yourself, pamper yourself.

11. Do something you really enjoy. What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing the most? Go to sleep, read a book, play a game, go golfing, sking, dancing, cooking, trekking … do whatever you enjoy the most. Re-connect with your hobbies. Do something you really enjoy.

Stay tuned for Find your own sanctuary III - Within
More Articles on
Growth

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sea Laughter


The idea: Some round stones from the sea or river over the tummy to stimulate natural Laughter.


Development: Take some midium-sized round stones and practice with them over your tummy. Each one with a different colour (paint if you like) and feel the sensations of your Laughter depending of the weight and colour.


Also, you can take smaller stones and put it over your face. The effect is magic! You will see flying and flowing in the River of Laughter.

Put smoothy tiny stones over your brow, cheeks, point of the nose (my favoutite laughter).


Tell me your experience.


Sure you will enjoy with the energy of Laughter Sea!

Laugh with the clouds



Last Spring, in the beauty village of Folgoso de la Ribera (Leon , Spain) I walked through the giant trees and the singing meadows of this magic place and then I lay over the grass.


The wide deep blue sky front my eyes and then I laughed and laughed like a bird, like a breeze, like a sun ray and Heaven and Earth flowed from my heart as if the first instant of Life Universe start in my simple ha he hi hu and all was just and all was true... and all IS love.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stick a Neuron in Your Head and Laugh!




Has work lost its luster for you? Are you bored by small talk … sorry jokes … and repeated redneck opinions of a few recycled workers around you from 9 to 5? Then stick a new neuron in your day and laugh! If nothing else you’ll create a buzz for a new and zesty topic.

The human brain creates new neuron pathways when you try something new… change one routine … which can be as insignificant as driving a new route to work … or laugh at anything or everything you do. Get others laughing too. It’s the opposite of boredom which is brought on by negativity, cynicism or pessimism.

It’s also the enemy of whining or blaming others at work….

Einstein and other geniuses claimed to enjoy the unrealistic aspirations of an optimist … daily… and that triggered their brains in directions of success. It spreads like wildfire when it sparks new neurons in others. Try these laughter tips for the workplace.

Start by modeling one positive behavior in a humorous way and stay with that until you see it take root and build new neuron pathways in one person beyond yourself. As soon as one other person jumps in you have already doubled what I call laughter-neuron effect. Do the math and you’ll see how fast new neuron pathways can blitz new business benefits at your firm.

Whenever we Laugh – especially at ourselves … everything around us lightens up and complex projects suddenly seem doable! We also build new neuron pathways for fun … and if you’re wondering how it works … just watch how it prospers the person with most wit and wisdom where you work.

Humor’s good for business because it release enzymes into the brain and opens new spaces for learning, giving and for enjoying what you do. It’s also good for expansion … because people gravitate to humorous people, and research shows they like to do business with people who can laugh at themselves. New research also links humor to health, happiness and healing…. If people do better work when they laugh… and we can all build new neuron pathways with a bit more wit … what might add a few laughs to your workday!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New trends in Laughter Yoga


Filed under: Laughter Yoga Alone — Dr. Madan Kataria

Telephone Conference Laughter Clubs / Laughter Buddies
In India laughter clubs are held every day thereby helping people to reap enormous health benefits as they laugh regularly. But, in the Western countries laughter clubs happen just once a week leaving many wanting for more. Realizing their need for daily laughter, I devised certain techniques and exercises that would help people to laugh all by themselves.
The new concept of Laughter Yoga Alone is inspirational for those wanting to laugh daily and experience the healing power of laughter for both mental and physical wellness. It is especially beneficial for the old and the disabled and for those who find it difficult to go to a laughter club on a daily basis.

It will also help to generate more awareness about the clubs and the tremendous heath benefits of laughter as an exercise. It will encourage more and more people to join the clubs and practice these exercises for good health and well being.
In my search for different techniques to laugh alone at home, one of the most ingenious was to have ‘Laughter Buddies’ on the phone. It all started last year when Jackie Curran, a laughter teacher from Sydney, formed a telephone buddy with whom she laughed once every week. She found it extremely uplifting and energizing. The concept proved to be very beneficial as laughter leaders all over the world picked up this practice.

The American Breakthrough
I was pleasantly surprised when our laughter leader Gaga from California started a telephone conference laughter session called a ‘Bridge line’, with nearly 20 - 30 people laughing every day at 9 a.m. California time for 20 minutes.
The experience was similar to being in a Laughter club. It caught on rapidly and they now have four laughter lines at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wow!! Very good very good Yeah!!!!
Anyone interested in joining the Telephone Laughter Club please call 712-432-3900Access code is 6071292#

The Australian Laughter line
Inspired by the American success story Jackie, the laughter lawyer from Sydney wasted no time in setting up the first Australian Telephone Conference Laughter Club every Monday at 6 pm.
For joining the Australian Telephone Laughter Clubs please write to jackie@laughterlawyer.com.auTelephone: 180069266 and the access code is 6136488.
(They may ask you for your company’s name but you are required to only give your name)
Thank you both Jackie and Gaga and other laughter professors of California. You have created history and shown a new direction to get more and more people laughing on a regular basis. This will help to generate more awareness about the benefits of laughter.
We want more and more readers to take the initiative to start with these telephone laughter clubs in other parts of the world. Is anybody listening?
Ha hah ah good luck.

Friday, April 18, 2008

(How To) Laugh On The Phone!




In the past decade, Laughter Yoga has spread throughout the world via laughter clubs, with groups meeting and laughing together in parks and many other venues. Laughter Yoga is now set to spread through a different medium: telephone wire... Few Laughter Clubs in the West meet everyday. Most meet only once a week, sometimes only once a month. I found that laughing on the phone is easy and can be done every day! Here is how.

Following my learning and experiences at the Byron Bay and Kerala Laughter Yoga Spiritual retreats, I have found it increasingly easy to laugh every day on my own. I use a combination of breathing with laughter, followed by free laughter, which, once I start, just comes easily as I relax my body.

My work as a lawyer regularly requires me to be in a serious frame of mind for hours. I therefore enjoy any excuse to laugh as a break from my serious work.

While laughing one morning, it occurred to me that an easy way of enjoying laughter with others would be to call some of my laughter club friends over the phone and we could have a good laugh together.

I tried it out and after a quick chat we just both started laughing. It was just as infectious as being together in a group laughing, and left both of us feeling happy. It was as good as being at laughter club, without having to leave home. I also had several laughter sessions with Dr. Kataria, and other members of the Laughter Yoga Team, while we were talking on Skype about matters relating laughter yoga international.

This new path to Laughter, will provide Laughter lovers with another channel to allow them to Laugh Without a Reason. We encourage people to enjoy Laughter Sessions with other Laughter lovers, the world over, while being seated at home or in the office, through the phone or the internet. Several people around the world are reporting very successful experiences to us about laughing on the phone and we would like to promote this idea. Many do not have a local laughter club that they can visit to laugh to their heart´s content every day. We are convinced that telephone laughter will be a great way to consolidate our worldwide laughter movement. In the future we can have a helpline for those who want to laugh just to feel good.

How it works

Here is how it works: call a friend and make sure that both of you have the willingness to laugh. Then, after a quick hello or a brief conversation connecting you with each other, just agree to start laughing at the same time as you would in laughter club. Then, just laugh. It is that simple. As in a regular laughter session, you can come up with any type of "phone" laughter exercises to create an excuse to laugh (e.g. gradient laughter, gibberish talking followed by laughter, talking a deep breath and holding the breath followed by laughter as you breathe out, express surprise laughing at receiving an imaginary very high bill, etc.). Your own creativity is the limit.

(...)

Many have found that http://www.skype.com/ was very useful (this is free internet telephony - although it only works if you have a high speed internet connection). They create a special "laughter" ID on skype, so that everybody knows that when they are online, they are looking for other people to laugh with.

by Jackie Curran, Australia

Telephone laughter Buddy



It is a common practice among the laughter club members, all over the world, to share a laugh with someone over the phone on a fixed day or time which is mutually convenient. The context is unconditional laughter without any reason.

As it is difficult to o a laughter club everyday as it may not be in your area this is a very innovative way of practicing laughter exercises and reaping all the benefits of laughter. Many a times there is a lack of motivation and one does not feel like laughing alone. To have someone on the phone lines at times like this will make the process interesting and inspiring.

The advantage of having a laughter buddy is that in case one is busy, the other person will remind one of laughing on the line. People were initially apprehensive about telephone buddy laughter as they thought that it encroached upon their privacy, comfort zone and was a nuisance. They had written it off even before trying it out. But life doesn’t work that way. If you laugh with someone and share a lighter moment, all the privacy issues of comfort zones and inconveniences will disappear against the benefits of laughter that you will receive.

Another economical option of doing laughter yoga is through Skype. This is popular free Internet telephone service and one can laugh with anyone anywhere in the word with the added facility of webcam. All you need is to download a messenger from www.Skype.com and have broadband Internet connection and a headphone.

Skype also has to telephone connection service where 10 to 20 people can log on to Skype messenger and laugh together.

This is a beautiful way of connecting with people around the world as we have laughter clubs in more than 55 countries now. It will provide an opportunity to develop international laughter connection.

We are launching telephone laughter body project very soon through our web site.


Dr. Kataria’s Laughter Yoga Diary 18-Jan-08

Mobile Laughter



(...) I have been doing the “BY MYSELF” Mobile Laughter too for a while and am suggesting everybody to do it too! Nobody knows who I am talking to… or even if I am actually talking to someone! and it’s a great way to laugh out loud - without anybody looking at me suspiciously! Nowaday I see more and more individuals with a cell phone, laughing! Are they doing Laughter Yoga?!! Who knows! It works for me! In my car, in public places… Why not try it?! Just make sure you don’t interrupt the “laughter conversation” too abruptly!!! Say goodbye before you hang up! hahaha! (and then, look around you if you’re in a public place! you might find smiles!)NamasteLots of love, joy and laughterLinda.

Comment by Linda Leclerc — January 21, 2008 @ 11:16 am


I have been doing this cell phone laughter method for about a year now and it is wonderful. In addition, I recorded a my own ring-tone and it is a clip of my husband and I laughing. Now, when I am in a public place, my phone will start laughing (instead of ringing) and it always causes others to laugh. There are so many simple ways to add laughter to your life!
Comment by Laura Gentry — February 20, 2008 @
1:49 pm

live LAUGH to the fullest!!!



Hello Laughter Lovers!

I start this blog with a wide smile :) :) :)

I am happy to share with you the joy of laughing. Ha ha haaa, it´s so nice to express your Laughter as a expression of love and gratitude to life.

Surround yourself with silence, leave your thoughts fly away like a calm white cloud... now rise the right corner of your mouth...all right...you are smiling! Then, you sigh deeply, because you really love life. Sigh again, and again, short and fast sighs that leads you to laugh as a heavenly delight. Feel the vibration of Laughter in your tummy. Feel the energy that purifies, strengthens and balances your body and mind.

Yes...you have been born to enjoy and live LAUGH to the fullest. There are fireworks of endorphins inside you. A soul in fiesta!

Welcome hahaFriends wherever you be, remember that we have been born to celebrate life and Laughter is the best friend you have in your way.

laugh&love