Everything these days is “new and improved,” or “reimagined,” so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon as well. Today’s article is about learning how to laugh better, and why you should laugh this way (even if you already laugh a lot!)
“But Mike, I laugh ALL the time!”
“I don’t need no stinkin’ Laughter Yoga!”
Well, the short answer is this: even if you are a naturally humorous person, who laughs a lot, you still are not laughing enough. Research studies have shown that even people who rate themselves as “humorous” or “very humorous” only laugh a TOTAL of fewer than 2-3 minutes! This leads me to the first “D:”
is for Duration!
Because even very humorous people only laugh for 2-3 minutes, they are not getting a physical benefit from the laughter. Or more precisely, they are not getting the maximum benefit of laughter. When done as a Laughter Yoga exercise, we engage in a minimum of 10-15 minutes of unconditional laughter (for a refresher, read my article Conditional vs. Unconditional Laughter: Knowing the Difference Could Save Your Life!)
This 10-15 minutes of laughter exercises are done while making eye contact, deep breathing, and engaging in hearty belly laughter, which leads me to the second “D:”
is for Depth!
In Laughter Yoga, we are consciously laughing while engaging our diaphragm and core muscles, or “belly laughing.” When we do this, not only are we getting an excellent physical workout, but we are also using our diaphragm to expel stale air from our lungs.
We are all lazy breathers. Admit it. ADMIT IT! You are probably reading this article hunched over your laptop or smartphone, just squishing your lungs and ribcage into a terrible posture. Some studies indicate that as much as 60-75% of the air in our lungs is just sitting there, not being exchanged. By using our diaphragm as a bellows pump when belly laughing, we push this “stale” air out of our lungs, replacing it with fresh oxygen, giving us a mood and energy boost, just from the extra o2!
But here’s the thing: We need to do this regularly, which leads to the third and final “D:”
is for Dependability!
Humor is a tricky thing. What I find humorous, you may find offensive. This can make for awkward situations, hurt feelings, and more. No Bueno!
And even if you are that “naturally humorous person (NHP),” I am sure that you have watched a show or seen a comedian, expecting to laugh only to be disappointed by the lack of stimulating humor. Bummer, right? This is what is key to Laughter Yoga: no jokes needed!
As we have discussed previously, in Laughter Yoga we do not rely on jokes or humor, which makes the laughter dependable. There is no disappointment: you KNOW you will laugh because the laughter is unconditional. When we laugh unconditionally, there is very little chance that you will be offended by the exercises (unless you have a deep abiding bias against clapping, laughing, and fun!)
Turbo Boost or Life Tool – The Choice is Yours!
To wrap up, Laughter Yoga should not be a replacement for the NHP (if it is not clear, I count myself among this mirthful group!). In fact, because you learn to laugh unconditionally, the humorous laugher can appreciate the humor (conditional laughter) even more! To the NHP, Laughter Yoga can be a “turbo-boost!” of
energy and good mood!
If you know you NEED to laugh more, but find it difficult to laugh at humor or jokes (and there are millions who share this with you!), Laughter Yoga can provide the release needed to improve your mood, put a smile on your face, and maybe, just maybe give you a new tool to help deal with all of life’s challenges.
If this makes sense to you, and you either want to 1) turbo boost your humorous nature, or 2) you want to learn how to use Laughter Yoga to give you an additional coping and de-stressing tool or 3) you want it ALL, I am an email or phone call away! CONTACT ME HERE to start your happiness journey: whether it is Laughter Yoga, Positive Psychology Coaching, or Keynote speaking at your next function, let me help you “Spread Mirth on Earth!”