World Laughter Day

A laughing woman

Every year, on the first Sunday in May, World Laughter Day celebrates the positive effect that deep laughter can have on us all.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

For over 25 years, on the first Sunday in May, thousands of people from more than 120 countries get together and celebrate World Laughter Day. And what do they do? They laugh and laugh … and laugh! People from 'laughter clubs' in cities and towns across the planet invite their friends and family members to join them, usually in public spaces. One very large 'laughter event' took place in the year 2000, when 10,000 people of different ages and backgrounds gathered in the Town Hall Square of Copenhagen, Denmark – to laugh! 

The Laughter Yoga movement

The very first World Laughter Day took place in 1998 in a park in the city of Mumbai, India. It was organised by Dr Madan Kataria, the person who also founded Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga is not about thinking of something funny, but it is based on a series of easy-to-do exercises that include the act of laughter. Like other types of yoga, it supports our physical and mental well-being. One fascinating point that Dr Kataria makes is that for the body, there is no difference between 'pretend' or 'fake' laughter and real laughter. As long as the laughter is deep or hard, it doesn't matter. After regularly attending a 'laughter gym', you begin to feel the physical and emotional benefits.

The benefits of laughter

Deep laughter causes our muscles to relax, which helps to cope with stress. During laughter our body releases chemicals that are associated with positive events and emotions. This can also reduce anxiety and physical pain. Like yoga, the physical act of laughter involves deep breathing. The oxygen flow throughout our body is increased, and when we breathe out, the 'old' air in our lungs is released. Mentally, laughter can help us feel more positive about life, ready to face challenges and deal with difficult situations more calmly. There are many free videos on different social media platforms with Dr Kataria but – warn your housemates or family members – you will probably laugh loudly and keep laughing!

Laughter as medicine? Maybe!

Some people think that deep laughter can help with the recovery from serious illness. Norman Cousins, a famous 20th-century writer, certainly believed this. In his late forties and following an extremely stressful time in his professional life, Cousins was diagnosed with a serious illness. He moved with difficulty, he was in constant pain and he was told he had a limited time to live. 

However, Cousins thought that if stress or negative emotions had caused his illness, then maybe positive emotions could help him get better – and daily laughter became part of this approach. For months, from his sickbed, Cousins watched comedy films that made him laugh out loud. He became convinced that ten minutes of deep 'belly' laughter resulted in two hours of painless sleep, so decided to stop taking powerful painkillers and sleeping pills. Instead, he used laughter and high doses of Vitamin C to help his recovery. Amazingly, within six months he was up and about, and within two years back at work.

Whatever the case, if laughter helps us to cope with stress and makes us feel positive about life – then let's keep doing it!
 

Discussion

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Submitted by Tail on Tue, 21/05/2024 - 07:10

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Laughter is one of the most important in our daily life!

Submitted by bettyH on Sat, 04/05/2024 - 12:55

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It would be exciting to join a Laughter Yoga Session to experience how laughter and yoga blend in together.  Yoga is often seen as a calm and relaxing activity while laughing seems share the relaxing part but hardly associated with calmness. 

Submitted by Awa9102000 on Mon, 29/05/2023 - 08:07

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It would be so exciting to attend Laughter Yoga session. I mean it seems to be a very interesting activity and this is my very first time hear about it. I have heard about the benefits of laughter many times, though. I try in my daily habits to meditate but it is not an easy routine to settle as i can be easily overwhelmed by my current activities yet.

Submitted by askkumar22 on Fri, 26/05/2023 - 10:12

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Hi! Everyone,
I am Akash Kumar for Patna. I couldn't try laughter yoga because in a fild, ground you laugh loudly without any reason our surrounding called these type of people are mad or a mental disorder. Rather i enjoy with my family, friends, cousin with comedy shows or comedy movie and laugh..

Submitted by daniposa on Fri, 19/05/2023 - 21:29

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I would like to try Laughter Yoga, but I preffer to watch hours of commedy films as Mr. Cousins did

Submitted by BusBus93 on Thu, 18/05/2023 - 16:41

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Yes of course, I am going to definitely try Laughter yoga. It is really a beneficial act for us. As you may now nowadays all over of us need to cape with stress in daily life. Personally, I think its perfect way to get relaxed.

Submitted by medusa.1 on Mon, 15/05/2023 - 21:03

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exactly true, if you wanna feel better, you need to laught :D

Submitted by mdasantana on Tue, 02/05/2023 - 21:55

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The purpose of Laughter Yoga is interesting, I think it can be a good exercise to release daily stress and build a healthier lifestyle.