Laughter Is Being Celebrated All Around The World And That’s No Joke

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Laughter Is Being Celebrated All Around The World And That’s No Joke

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Abby Schindel, Managing Editor, Feature

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What makes people laugh is different for each person. Some might laugh at the sad part of the movie or during an awkward silence, whereas some are more amused by the classic jokes, similar to:

Knock knock.

Who is there?

Cow say.

Cow say who?

No, cow say moooo.

Personally, I always enjoy a good pun. They are witty and clever and never fail to put a smile on my face, and I always feel pretty proud of myself when I think of a great pun.

My best pun, according to my sister, was when my family was at Benihana. My sister and I decided to go get ice cream next door. I looked at my sister and said “Hey Ella, I’ll rice ya” as I pointed at my plate with the leftover rice. My sister was in complete shock as I ran off, beating her in our race to the ice cream shop.

Annika Smerud, ‘19, says “what makes me laugh is when things don’t go my way… My car handle broke and I just laughed at the fact that I had to crawl across the seat to get out.”

The point is that laughter is as unique as it is widespread. While infrequent during more stressful times in our life, it is clear that laughter is an integral part of simply being human.

Now there are legitimate reasons to laugh, not just for feeling it brings. According to mayoclinic.com, there are numerous health advantages to laughing, making it truly the best medicine, although you won’t cure a common cold through a short laugh. Short term benefits include more endorphins being released in your brain, which enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air and reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

There also happen to be long term advantages to laughter as well. While negative thoughts create chemical reactions in your body, which bring more stress and decrease the strength of your immune system, positive thoughts and laughter release neuropeptides, which fight stress and in turn improve your immune system. Laughter may also ease some pain by causing the body to release its own natural pain reliever.

People around the world have started to see the impacts of laughter on the human body and have started to create groups, movements and even dedicate a day to celebrate and partake in laughter.

World Laughter Day is an annual event that takes place on the first Sunday of May. The first World Laughter Day took place on May 10th in Mumbai, India. It was organized by Madan Kataria, according to their website, worldlaughterday.com. World Laughter Day is a positive way for to promote world peace and ultimately helps to build up relationships through laughter.

World Laughter Day only happens once a year though, so the task then becomes looking for ways to apply laughter to life on a more daily basis.

One example in my life is a warm up that we have in choir. Everyone starts by counting down from eight, shaking each one of your limbs at a time. Then you count down from there until you reach one. At the very last count of ‘one,’ everyone lets out a full belly laugh, essentially a forced laugh, but it eventually turns into true laughter because of how absurd it is. You wouldn’t think much of it, but after truly forcing a laugh, it really does lift your mood, even for just a few minutes.

If I am ever in a bad mood, I remember this exercise and look the mirror trying to force a laugh. After a while, it becomes actually kind of funny because of just how stupid it feels, but it’s also a way to trick your brain into believing you are actually laughing.

According to BottomLineInc.com, a website that provides action-focused advice from popular experts on the topic, laughing produces the same positive effects on the body whether they’re real or simulated. As silly as this exercise may seem, letting out a forced laugh will lift you up just as much as a real one.

Another method for adding laughter into your life is Laughter Yoga, created by Kataria.

“Laughter yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh without jokes or comedy, without using any humor. What we do is we laugh in a group and initiate laughter as a form of exercise in the beginning, but when we look at each other, [the] laughter becomes infectious and contagious,” said Kataria at a TedMed Live Talk in 2013.

According to doyouyoga.com, laughter yoga is a fairly new concept that combines stimulated breathing exercises and gentle breathing techniques that help the body learn how to voluntarily laugh, without the help of a joke or humor.

“We call this laughter yoga because we combine laughter exercises with deep breathing techniques from yoga that bring more oxygen to our body and brain. [It] makes us feel more healthy and energetic,” said Kataria.

While there are no laughter yoga clubs in Minnesota and the nearest one is in Viroque, Wisconsin, at Minnetonka it is incredibly easy to create a club. According to the laughteronlineuniversity.com, the main page for laughter yoga, making a yoga laughter club doesn’t require permission from the group. The club is an informal group of people who want to laugh and want to celebrate it through yoga.

Laughing is a good thing and does amazing things for all aspects of life. Whether it is a laugh that is forced or natural, with your friends or at a yoga laughter club, it is still a laugh, and it always brings the same feeling.

 

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