How could you not click on a link called "Be Happier"? Isnt that what everyone wants? Even if you don't want to increase your happiness you probably want to maintain what happiness you already have. I've pursued happiness for a lifetime with varying degrees of success but I can say that attending laughter clubs has been one of the better things I've tried (and I've tried a lot). It costs next to nothing and has definite, noticeable benefits.
humour v laughter
Humour and laughter are not the same thing - humour is the capacity for an individual to perceive, relate and experience a given situation in a more funny and humourous way. Laughter is one expression of your sense of humour (another expression might be smiling).
In fact there is some research that humour is even better for you than laughter. Humour involves seeing and interpreting a situation and then expressing it. The act of interpreting a situation as funny involves more of your brain (your entire cerebral cortex) than just laughter and this might have greater benefits.
The good thing is that they are interrelated and developing one helps develop the other. (In fact this is true of most skills. That's why so many geniuses excelled at many different activities).
Sense of humour: Faculty of perceiving facetiousness or comicality and enjoying what is ludicrous or amusing.
Laughter: Making the sounds and movements of face and body by which lively amusement, sense of the ludicrous and exultation are instinctively expressed.
developing a sense of humour by laughing
This section is provided with thanks to Madan Kataria's article "Understanding the new concept of Laughter Yoga".
Everyone has a tremendous potential to laugh but this seems to reduce as we get older. Children laugh 300-400 times a day - not because they have a good sense of humour but because it is the nature of a child to be joyful. By the time we become adults we laugh just 15 times a day (not even that on a bad day).
Becoming wealthier is not the answer either. In the 1950s people used to laugh an average of 18 minutes a day but now it is just 6 minutes a day - despite the enormous rise in living standards. There's an epidemic of seriousness! Not every society is the same. Anyone who has been to Thailand can attest to the capacity for Thai adults to continue to laugh and smile into old age, even living in relative poverty.
As we get older (and it appears, richer) our laughter gets lost among increasing piles of FUNGI (Fear, Unhappiness, Neuroticisms, Greed and worst of all Inibition) as well as self-control, responsibility and insecurity. Now FUNGI usually live under DUNG (Disgust, Unhappiness, Neutoricisim, Greed). We need to remove all the DUNG, extract ourselves from the FUNGI and get to the fun in order to laugh more.
That's why the laughter clubs work so well - they help you overcome your inhibitions, relax, have some fun and become playful again. And like a muscle - the more you flex it the more you laugh. This in turn activates your sense of humour. As far as your body goes it can't tell the difference between whether you're laughing for real or pretending. The funny thing is (oops a pun) after a while it all comes more naturally and you start finding you are laughing spontaneously more and more often.
Why strive for happiness? It's not as silly a question as it might seem - after all did Ghandi strive for his own happiness or the liberation of his people? What about Mandela?
Whatever your personal choice one good reason to strive for happiness is the health benefits. There have been plenty of studies that show that people with unhappy emotional states have poorer health than those with average emotional states. Now studies are showing positive moods = positive health. i.e:
- lower cortisol levels
- for men (but not women) lower heart rates
- lower levels of blood protein fibrinogen
(Fibrinogen is a molecule which makes your blood sticky and is vital to clotting but too much can contribute to heart disease).
It appears that positive moods help you to respond appropriately to the environment. According to Professor Jane Wardle, University College, London, UK, happiness makes "...the little hassles and irritations of everyday life loom less large, so you don't get such strong reactions to them."Return to Top
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Breakthrough Study: Laughter Yoga Reduces Stress and Peaks Performance
The world's first studies on the effects of laughter yoga sessions in the workplace show significant stress reductions and a sharp increase in work effectiveness. ... read more
Even Fake Laughter is Good Medicine
Psychologists say a minute of forced laughter can help the blues. "Forced laughter is a powerful, readily available and cost-free way for many adults to regularly boost their mood and psychological wellbeing," ... read more
Laughter Improves Breast Milk's Health Effects
Famed for its restorative powers, it now seems that laughter also helps breast milk to fight skin allergies. ... read more
What Makes us Laugh and Why?
Perhaps E.B. White was onto something when he once noted that analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. The procedure kills the essence of both the frog and the funny -- and then what's the point? ... read more
Why Laughter is Contagious
Researchers at University College London and Imperial College London have found that positive sounds such as laughter or a triumphant "woo hoo!" trigger a strong response in the listener's brain. ... read more
Laughter Is Good For Your Heart
Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a new study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. ... read more
Humour, Spirituality and Wellbeing
Significant progress is being made in mind-body research around the world with the field of psychoneuroimmunology expanding at a rapid rate. ... read more
Laughter May be the Best Medicine
A growing body of research supports the theory that laughter has a therapeutic value. A good gut-buster not only helps the spirit, it gets the blood pumping, just like jogging -- only it's a workout that even hospital patients can enjoy. Laugh on a regular basis, and you can even boost your immune system, according to some research. ... read more
A New Predictor of Likeability: Laughter
The present study reviews past research concerning laughter and provides empirical support for a connection between laughter and likeability. ... read more
Happily Ever Laughter
While the humor-is-healthy viewpoint has finally gained scientific respectability, now humor's therapeutic limits become defined and its weaknesses understood. That may sound like a glum take on a cheerful subject, but it's not. For the better we understand when laughter is useful, the more effectively we can deploy it - and that's something we can all be happy about. ... read more
Humour and Health
The mere fact that you feel better after a good laugh is enough for many to conclude that humor must be good for you. But new evidence confirms what our grandparents knew all along. Your sense of humor not only enriches life; it also promotes physical, mental and spiritual health. ... read more
The US Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humour (AATH)
Good articles, recommended books and some tips on the reading list page.
Dr Madan Kataria (Founder of the World Laughter Movement)
Find out what it's all about plus background and history and locations of clubs in your part of the world.
"GOOD-HEARTED LIVING" Day-By-Day The World Laughter Tour Laughter Club Way
Follow these daily practices to prevent hardening of the attitudes and add more laughter to your life.
Laughing All the Way to the Bank
Witty executives get bigger bonuses and better performance ratings, by Fabio Sala.
Inspirational Laughter Quotes
A collection of inspirational laughter quotes to brighten your outlook, and your day.