When I first heard about them, the idea of “laughing clubs” struck me as sad–is our society so joy-deprived that we have to scheduling in time and space just to laugh? But the more I learn about them, the more I think, what could be more worthwhile than to make room in your day for a good, hearty laugh–especially if doing so can help alleviate depression, improve circulation, and address a number of other health conditions?
The beauty of laughter yoga, laughing clubs, and other forms of laughter exercise is that there doesn’t have to be anything funny for it to work. It’s not like going to a comedy club or a movie and hoping that there’s something that happens to crack you up. With laughter, you can “fake it ’till you make it” and reap all sorts of health benefits. Among them are the facts that laughter:
— Oxygenates the blood
— Stimulates the release of endorphins and seratonin (the “happy hormone”)
— Contracts and tones the abdominal muscles
— Simultaneously energizes and relaxes the body
Check out this article in today’s Boston Globe about healing laughter clubs (there’s one in my town! Must try it…..). And enjoy these two videos – the first from Monty Python’s John Cleese during a visit to a laughing club in Mumbai, India, and the second from an exuberant Israeli laughter yoga teacher who has observed that often with the “ha ha ha” of laughter therapy comes the “a-ha!” of emotional and spiritual insight.
Have you laughed enough today? Have you ever tried laughter yoga? Does anyone else have “that’s how we laugh the day away in the merry old land of Oz” in their heads?!