Humor and laughter therapy stimulate the secretion of happiness hormones
Humor and laughter therapy stimulate the secretion of happiness hormones, while 2 minutes of laughter has the same effect as 10 minutes of exercise on the trainer – say some scientists
Laughter is a part of people’s life and happiness because there is no happy person without a smile. Absence of laughter is a sign of psychological disorders accompanied by a deep sense of guilt, excessive worry and depression. Laughter is therefore a medicine for the suffering soul and body, which was also known to ancient peoples.
Records have survived that hospitals in ancient Greece were wisely built near theaters (just so patients could hear the laughter and cheers of the audience).
Martin Luther, a German religious reformer, constantly recommended depressed people to surround themselves with cheerful friends who love to joke and thus make them laugh (because only laughter is the cure for human hopelessness).
Dr. Hunter Patch Adams founded the “Gesudheit Institute”(a home-based medical practice that has treated more than 15,000 people for free) founded in 1971. Dr Adams began to use humor therapeutically to make patients laugh and feel good. He also used clowns in his work with adults and children. However, laughter therapy (as opposed to Adams’ humor therapy) belongs to Dr. Madan Kataria from India. Dr. Kataria was inspired by the ancient traveling sages who constantly laughed and passed the laughter on to other people. In 1995, Dr. Kataria founded the “Club of Laughter”. Some other people joined the doctor. They went out to the park, told jokes and laughed. They gathered more and more supporters. Dr. Kataria then established a system of exercises that cause laughter (when all the jokes and jokes ran out). He took breathing and stretching exercises from yoga and then determined procedures that encourage people to laugh.
It turned out that artificial laughter has the same effect on biochemical processes in the body as natural (spontaneous) laughter. Laughter therapy therefore spread quickly and today it is applied in almost 60 laughter clubs in the world. Members of these clubs mostly meet once a week to help each other and change their attitude towards life, rediscover joy and improve their health.
The participant in the therapy needs to do several sessions to see the funny side of his or her own problems, to overcome the fear of the impossibility of solving the problem. Sessions are performed according to Katari’s laughter yoga system.
Laughter is achieved through breathing and muscle stretching exercises that accelerate the work of the diaphragm. This reflexively achieves the release of the hormone of happiness (serotonin), psychologists explain. All participants feel satisfied and relieved after the session. The feeling of pain disappears. Headaches, migraines, and other psychosomatic ailments stop. The effect on physical health was confirmed by Dr. William Freya from Stanford University in California – just 2 minutes of laughter has the same physical effect as 10 minutes of exercise on a trainer that imitates rowing.
Other studies prove that 10 minutes of laughter lowers blood pressure by 10 to 20 mm Hg. Laughter therapy is considered one of the best exercises for people suffering from asthma and bornitis (because during laughing lung ventilation improves and the amount of oxygen in the blood increases).
There is a difference between humor and laughter therapy
Humor mostly means a passive participant who expects some external stimulus to cause that participant to laugh. That means laughter with a reason. Humor is a cognitive activity that originates from the left hemisphere of the brain, so it is necessary to “understand” a joke (and a joke) in order for laughter to occur. Humor requires constant alertness of the mind.
Yoga laughter through the activity of an individual and the whole group leads to reasonless laughter. Laughter yoga does not require any cognitive activities, but cognitive activity is also prohibited during the exercises, even talking and commenting to encourage thinking.
The therapeutic effect of laughter yoga frees people from excessive thoughts, reasoning, comparisons and analyses. Therapeutic laughter creates a healing void in the mind that is otherwise difficult to achieve in everyday life.
People can learn to laugh when they need laughter if they approach laughter systematically. A good laugh then brings instant relaxation, reduces the level of stress hormones and nervousness.
Yoga-laughter strengthens self-confidence, so it can be used before an important exam, performance, public speech and decisive events (a match, for example)
People after therapy are often good public speakers even if they were not able to speak publicly before.
Scientists have found that laughter makes it easier to see what was previously unfathomable. This activity of the spirit helps to overcome the rationality and control of the left cerebral hemisphere. It stimulates the work of the right hemisphere responsible for the joy of life (because it is the seat of inventiveness, creativity, intuition, imagination and all kinds of creativity). Laughter also contributes to good professional communication. It is known from everyday life that people who laugh together work better together. Laughter can help in seemingly difficult situations. When, for example, someone suddenly says something funny and everyone laughs. From that moment on, the tension disappears, everything is suddenly fast became possible and feasible. Collaborators become more direct and constructive in communication.
In yoga-laughter therapy, it has been confirmed that people who regularly practice the exercises become more open to others, show more care and share their feelings of joy and sadness more easily.
People who practice yoga-laughter exercises more easily overcome everyday selfishness and have a more positive attitude towards life. Small failures and annoyances will no longer cause such great tension, because through laughter therapy, they learn to deal with problems/failures more easily psychologically.
Yoga-laughter is first of all a practical, efficient, anti-stress program available to everyone because it is based on nature and does not need special learning, does not require special equipment or modern expensive technology. Both happy children and some happy adults often laugh and have no reason to laugh.
The World Laughter Day is celebrating every year on The 10th of January and the First Sunday in May.