Perhaps the phrase “Laughter is the Best Medicine” is one of the most quoted phrases that we have heard all our lives. A good hearty laugh can not only cheer the mind but also lightens the mood. To celebrate laughter, World Laughter Day has been celebrated annually since 1998. First celebrated on 10 May 1988 in Mumbai, India, this day brings forth the importance of laughter, a positive and powerful emotion that is imbued with all the ingredients to change a person as well as bring about a change in the world in a peaceful manner. Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement, was the first person to arrange this event in 1988, which is now celebrated and acknowledged worldwide.
History of Laughter Day
Dr. Madan Kataria, a family doctor in India, was inspired to start his Laughter Yoga movement by the facial feedback hypothesis. This hypothesis is rooted in the theories of Charles Darwin and William James. It reportedly states that one’s facial expression directly relates to their emotional experience. Physiological activation of facial expressions has a direct relation to emotional state, meaning that while smiling or laughing, a person’s emotional levels are heightened and they tend to be in a good mood. World Laughter Day marks a positive manifestation of world peace and a consciousness of brotherhood, friendship, and humanity that can be expanded globally.
Health Benefits of Laughter
Besides uplifting your mood, the benefits of laughter are in abundance. Here is how you can harness the powerful effects of laughter, humour, and comedy:
1. Laughter May Boost Your Immune System
A good hearty laugh can noticeably reduce stress hormones and increase immune cells – the antibodies that fight infections. Thus, laughter may help improve your body’s resistance to ward off diseases.
2. Laughter May Burn Calories
This can be misleading if not explained. Laughter is no replacement for working out at the gym or doing home exercises but a study conducted showed that laughing for a good 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn up to 40 calories. This amount of calorie loss is enough to burn three to four pounds in one year.
3. Laughing May Protect the Heart
By improving the functions of blood vessels and improving blood flow through the heart, laughter may help you fight against cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and others.
4. Laughter Relaxes the Whole Body
When you have a good, hearty laugh, you can immediately feel your body doing much better in terms of less physical tension and stress. A good laugh may help relieve you from stress for at least 45 minutes.
5. Laughter Triggers Release of Endorphins
Endorphins are the body’s natural hormones that make you feel good. Endorphins are known to reduce pain and discomfort in the body, increase pleasure, and uplift mood and self-esteem.
6. Laughter May Help You Live Longer
A study conducted in Norway showed that people with a good sense of humour live longer than people who do not laugh as much. This study proved to be truer for people battling cancer.
7. Laughter Lightens an Angry Mood
A good and hearty laugh that is shared is probably the best way anger and conflict can be diffused. By looking at the funny side of situations, confrontations and bitterness can be resolved, enabling the group or the person to move forward in life without resentment and remorse.
Laughter & Mental Stability
Besides elevating one from sadness and pain by bringing joy and peace, laughter can give a person courage and determination to find a new ray of hope and a sense of well-being. Even in the most difficult times, if a person finds a way to smile or has someone that can make them smile or laugh, this can help them deal with situations, crises, or any problem maturely. Laughter is, as people say, contagious. Just hearing people laugh will signal your brain and you will want to hear the story to join in the mood. Laughter has a deep connection to improving your mental health. Here are the ways in which laughter helps you mental well-being:
1. Laughter Helps Your Brain to Recharge
A tiring day at work is not welcoming. Stress is a part and parcel of all our lives but with a good hearty laugh, your brain receives fewer stress hormones and increases energy in the body. This enables you to stay more focused at work as well as have fun outside work.
2. Laughing Stops Distressed Emotions
When you are truly laughing or are in good company where you are enjoying yourself, you cannot feel angry, sad, or anxious. All you will be able to concentrate on is how much fun you are having.
3. Laughter Draws You Closer to Other People
Laughter has a profound positive effect on your mental and emotional state of being. When you stay in a good mood, you are automatically drawn closer to people.
Laughter is one of the oldest yet most refreshing and effective tools to keep yourself positive and your relationships exciting. Laughter adds vitality and resilience to your relationships while also making you a person who not only has a good effect on their emotional state but also brings out the best in other people. This World Laughter Day, make a vow to spread and practice laughter and lead the happiest life!