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Laugh Out Loud For Better Health

Laughing is the easiest way to beat stress, tension, and strain and yet it is something we do not do as often as we should.

Bindu Gopal Rao

Laughter has a direct relationship with alleviation of mood and increasing immunity. Happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin are released when you laugh. This dispels negative emotions like anxiety, despair, stress, resentment, grudges, hurt, and pain. It helps us eliminate toxins and release the tension not from the body but also the mind. Laughter is the best medicine, and we tell you 10 different ways that can make you laugh, every day.

1. Hasya yoga

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Ayurveda has always acknowledged laughter as hasya yoga, a natural and inexpensive healing therapy that reduces stress and anxiety. It acts as a stimulator to many body organs like the heart, lungs, and muscles and helps them perform better. It decreases heart rate and blood pressure and improves stress response. “Ayurvedic philosophy has always placed great emphasis on the positive effects of laughter and encourages people to laugh at themselves. It helps people to deal with the turmoil and disappointments of life and makes them stronger and stoical. Laughter is a major stress buster and aids us in prioritizing happiness over melancholy. Finding joy in little things and expressing gratitude with the fulfilment of the simplest of desires are some of the secret reasons that promote laughter and happiness in your life. Hasya yoga is a sustainable practice for which one does not have to take out time separately but can become an unbreakable part of your routine,” says Vikas Chawla, founder and director, Vedas Cure.

2. Choose to do fun activities

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When feeling overwhelmed, it helps to take a mini-break and consciously watch a standup comedy act or read a funny comic as it shifts the mind to a more relaxed state. “Not only does it calm the mind and body, it also produces serotonin. Watching stand-up comedy like Trevor Noah or Joy Koy is a great way to be exposed to another culture but it also gets us laughing our lungs out. Tom and Jerry or other comics are a good laugh too. The more laughter we bring into our lives, the happier we become. The happier we are, the more we attract people to our lives,” says Karina Calver, relationship expert and founder, Hukam Healing.

3. Surround yourself with positivity

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2017 suggests that every time we look at people we know laughing, our brain releases endorphins, the happy hormones, and prepares our facial muscles to join in the laughter. “The best way to bring in laughter in your life is by surrounding yourself with people who have a positive energy and love to enjoy life in the present. As you spend more time with those who remain positive and share their happiness with others, your own self-esteem will experience a boost. Another way to laugh more is to fall in love with your own laughter. Your laugh is a part of your identity. It contributes to your health and happiness; when you deny yourself the chance to laugh wholeheartedly because you are worried people will judge you, you are essentially putting your health in jeopardy,” says Ayushi Mathur, mindset mentor, founder and CEO, Pickbetter Marketing.

4. Indulge in a spot of gaming

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Gaming is known to reduce stress and help you focus better. Imagine yourself watching an IPL match, knowing that this batsman is going to get out in this over because of his history with the kind of bowling or that bowler, and he gets out. “What is your first reaction? You laugh with joy, and you boast about your prediction to your friends. We all do that. Now, add the thrill and fun of iGaming to it. The laugh gets louder, and the win, sweeter. iGaming, at its core, is a leisure activity. When done right, it can reduce stress, and bring thrill and fun into daily mundane life,” says Dmitry Belianin, chief marketing officer, Parimatch International.

5. Connect with children

Whether you are a parent or not, a conversation with a child is bound to take you on a joyful trip down memory lane. Children have an innate power to spread joy. “I often sit next to the gang of three and four-year-olds in my apartment complex, listening to their sweet nothings and chuckle blissfully. Recently when my daughter was stressed about her board exams, we decided to watch all the funny scenes from our favourite movies, which made us cackle and acted as an instant tranquillizer,” says Meenakshi Mahesh, a Bengaluru resident.

6. Take a break

Laughter is an easy way to trick our brains and release happy hormones. In today’s fast-moving world, we have reached a point where it has become necessary to pause, take a moment to laugh a little, and then move on—refreshed. Laughter helps to enhance your mood, improve your immune system, and acts as a buffer from the negative effects of stress and anxiety. “Mindful laughing is a unique approach towards your healing journey. When you start laughing in a stressful situation your brains release healthy hormones such as endorphins and stops the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine,” says Dr Narendra Shetty, chief wellness consultant, Kshemavana—a naturopathy wellness retreat coming up in Nelamangala.

7. Voluntary laughing

Laughter therapy believes that voluntary laughter provides the same psychological and physiological benefits compared to spontaneous laughter. Science says that whether our laughter is real or fake it has an equal and positive effect on our body. “The body cannot distinguish between 'fake' laughter and 'real' laughter. Therefore, voluntary laughter, which is like fake it till you make it, cannot only help us achieve real laughter but also gives us all the positive benefits. This becomes easier for a person when he/she gets into the group. For those who are a bit inhibited, it might be a bit difficult in the beginning but once they grasp the concept, they willingly join the happy banter. Other than the physical and mental benefits, laughing can also increase bonding and social connectedness. It is linked to a feeling of safety and security, making one feel more relaxed,” says Dr. Deepak Mittal, founder, Divine Soul Yoga.

8. Do silly things

The strain of everyday life can make you more serious than you think, and, in the process, you forget to laugh. However, mundane and almost silly things can still make you laugh. Atifa, a communication professional and self-confessed jolly soul says, “Use the autocorrect feature in smartphones. Just type random three or four letters including vowels and you see many senseless autocorrect suggestions that sometimes can make you laugh. Also, don’t hesitate to send these to your friends so that both of you can enjoy a giggle. Ask weird questions to Siri like, if you are awesome? Do you have a girlfriend? What are you wearing? How much do you cost? While it may seem inane, you will still manage to laugh out loud.”

9. Speak to friends

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A lot of times when things aren’t going well, we isolate ourselves from people; however, that is counterproductive. "When we are down, good times with our friends is always a mood lifter, it calms us down and puts us in a state to make better decisions, even just watching something that is lighthearted or funny really can put us at ease and helps us cope with issues better. Don’t get me wrong, the problem does not go away, but being in a better mood will always ensure that you make a better choice, and your decisions are made more accurately," says Liz Dsouza, founder, Liz Lyn Careers.

10. Practice laughing

The easiest way to heal oneself and become whole is to laugh. Laughing is certainly natural but when laughter is exercised, practised, or induced—it can also become a medicine. "When we induce laughter, diaphragm movement is activated and lungs get stimulated. Thus, your body gets nourished with lots of oxygen. We literally deep breathe in and out and it could be laughter emptying all our lungs. We can empty our lungs, not just that more than six thousand pockets in our lungs could be filled with fresh air. All the five lobes will work to the full capacity, the vital capacity could go very high and that increases our immunity," says Dr. Mickey Mehta, global fitness guru and holistic expert. 

Photo: Shutterstock
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