Funny that a good laugh may hurt your tummy and make you cry alligator tears from time to time, when the act itself is pure joy. Laughter can even a little bit of a workout. A good sense of humor is healthy, in more ways than one. Studies have proven that a million times over.
You can support good health by simply laughing. There's proof in a thrilling new form of yoga that celebrates the art of laughing and in psychological studies regarding the opposite effect of laughter - hearing it rather than doing it. Researchers have found that mental patients taught to do standup comedy experience health benefits from others glee at their jokes.
Laughter has also been shown to relieve stress at home and work. Here you'll learn about laughter's health benefits and find some tips to reap them yourself.
The "Art" of Laughing
It is funny to think of it. In fact, watching a session of the newest form of yoga might actually make you laugh too. Just picture a large room with practitioners and a yoga instructor laughing, giggling, guffawing and basically socializing in the silliest ways. That's "laughter yoga," and it's the latest proof that laughter indeed promotes good physical health.
Though the majority of laughter yoga clubs are currently based in California, the phenomenon is spreading throughout the United States. Jeffrey Briar, traditional and laughter yoga instructor of Laguna Beach, states that the giggling actually promotes the natural breathing exercises so crucial to the quality of yoga instruction. Uninhibited laughter also creates a type of social interaction not normally present in traditional classes.
You can try it yourself, but here's another funny truth about this form of yoga: you don't have to think about something funny or look at anything funny to get yourself truly laughing. You can fake it, and remarkably you'll find yourself laughing your head off with everyone else. Laughter is wonderfully infectious.
Laughter is Therapeutic
For some, that's a no-brainer; however, they may be surprised to know it works in more ways than one. Sure, a laugh makes us feel better in general; but can it actually help with a mental disorder of some kind?
Can laughter help treat mental conditions? Strangely, it can. That's according to Betsy Brown, a patient suffering from bipolar disorder, who participated in a specialized program teaching patients to do standup comedy. When Betsy performed at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia for the "Stand Up for Mental Health" conference, she made 300 people laugh hysterically and reported a decrease in her hand trembling - just from hearing others laugh at her jokes.
The "Stand Up" program was founded in 2004 by David Granirer in Canada, who himself is a registered counselor and longtime comedian. He helps participants ranging from cancer patients and former sex workers to cope with their conditions all through the laughter of others. Laughter is good medicine. According to the funny Betsy Brown, "Laughter made it easy to feel better."
Manage Your Stress with Laughter
One of laughter's greatest health benefits is its effect on stress. Between the workplace and home, stress can really deal a deadly blow to some if managed incorrectly. Want to spot a sufferer? Look for the person rubbing their back or the back of their neck, slouching in their seat, or overeating at their desk. Would you believe one of the best ways to manage stress is simply to smile? When issues at work or at home seep into your well-being, it's a great way to cope.
Share laughter with your coworkers, say something silly or crack a joke. Anything that makes you smile. Laugh at life! Take things lightly and not so serious. You'll find when you do, stress won't get to you as much. The difficult things you deal with won't seem as difficult and you'll be better equipped to handle the issues that could cause serious stress.
When dealing with home and work, balance and laughter are absolutely key to your good health.
The Most Important Benefit....
And the best bit of wisdom for everyone: find joy. Laugh! Laughter promotes joy and lifts the spirit. Whether you're doing silly yoga, cracking a joke on stage or just trying to balance work and home, the most important thing you can do in your life is to have joy. Smile! You'll find it hard not to when you make time to share a joke you heard in class, on stage, or at work. Good humor is a simple way to maintain health, so remember to laugh!