LaughterDrive - Everyone Likes A Good Laugh!
This is simply about laughing. The elation you feel when you laugh is a great way of combating the physical effects of stress. When we laugh, our body relaxes and endorphins (natural painkillers) are released into the blood stream.
A laughter therapist’s aim is to help you laugh more easily. Therapy is available in group or individual sessions – these start with a warm-up followed by a range of activities designed to get you giggling. Laughter doesn’t come easily to everyone, but luckily the body can’t actually distinguish between real and fake laughter. So faking it has the same beneficial effect.
WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE AVAILABLE TO SHOW IT WORKS?
Dr Lee Berk of Loma University Medical Centre, California, has been conducting laughter therapy research since the late 1970s. In 1989, Berk studied the effects of laughter in 10 healthy males. Five experimental subjects watched an hour-long comedy while five control subjects didn’t. Blood samples taken from the 10 subjects revealed that cortisol (the hormone our body releases when under stress) in the experimental subjects had decreased more rapidly in comparison to the control group.
Berk’s research has also shown that the level of natural killer cells (a type of immune cell that attacks virus and tumour cells) is increased through laughter. These same cells are suppressed if the body suffers consistent long-term stress.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have also calculated that just 20 seconds of laughter could be as good for the lungs as three minutes spent on a rowing machine.
can be burned by just 10-15 minutes of laughing (Vanderbilt University study)
is how often on average an adult laughs (Martin RA, Kuiper NA. International Journal Of Humor Research 1999)
is how much more likely we are to laugh when we’re in a group (Dr Robert Previne)
is the longest stand up comedy show ever, by David Scott aka ‘The Midnight Swinger’
How to use LaughterDRive
There are organisations who can help you in this area – follow some of the links in ‘More Info’ below
Laughter is a great way of making yourself feel better, and it’s free! Feel free to have a look at some jokes voted the funniest at the Edinburgh Fringe by clicking on the year below – it expands to give you the best jokes.
Who can do it?
Laughter therapy is suitable for everyone although most therapists work with
Elderly groups, young people in care and mental health patients are all thought to benefit especially from laughter therapy. If you’re undecided, remember this: children laugh about 400 times a day whereas adults manage a miserable 15.
WHAT RESULTS CAN I EXPECT?
A laughter therapy session may leave you feeling elated and exhausted in equal measure. Muscle tone and cardiovascular functions may be improved, and oxygen levels in the blood may be boosted.in the healthcare profession or in the workplace, where laughter is used as a means of relieving stress.
In the long term, laughter therapy teaches us that we don’t just have to laugh when we are happy. Laughing in the face of anger, stress or anxiety – even if it’s forced laughter – can actually lift your mood. And it’s infectious, so you can expect to see those around you benefiting from a good giggle too. Speaking of which…
If you can’t get out
There are lots of ways of keeping in touch with friends and having a laugh, whether it’s playing games online or doing a quiz. See our ideas below.
Laughter decreases stress hormones and improves your resistance to illness
The therapeutic effects of laughter have been clinically studied since the 70s, but Dr Madan Kataria – who developed laughter yoga in Mumbai – is credited with bringing laughter therapy into the mainstream. Kataria set up the first laughter club in 1995. There are now more than 5,000 laughter clubs worldwide.
Laughter Yoga explained
Laughter Yoga is a new form of exercise akin to internal jogging that promotes the use of laughter as a form of physical exercise. It was created in India in the mid-1990s. Laughter Yoga owes its success to having greatly simplified and made accessible to the common man the teachings of earlier laughter pioneers who taught very similar concepts starting decades earlier.
It quickly grew as a grassroots social movement of independent community laughter clubs, promoting the ideal of a non-political, non-religious, non-racial, non-threatening, and non-competitive voluntary (simulated) approach to laughter.
Helpguide.org describes the benefits of laughter as shown below.
Physical benefits of laughter
- Boosts immunity
- Lowers stress hormones
- Decreases pain
- Relaxes your muscles
- Prevents heart disease
Mental Benefits of laughter
- Adds joy and zest to life
- Eases anxiety and tension
- Relieves stress
- Improves mood
- Strengthens resilience
Social benefits of laughter
- Strengthens relationships
- Attracts others to us
- Enhances teamwork
- Helps defuse conflict
- Promotes group bonding
The Edinburgh Fringe hosts some of the best new comedy
Below are some of the jokes voted as the best in their year. Click on the year to show that year’s jokes.
We agree with the experts and it’s true, laughter makes us feel better. As adults we have to do so many things and life can be very stressful. We need to make time to be happy
Look at the faces on the tube or the train or the bus and see who is smiling – most look miserable; saying good morning and smiling to someone can make them smile back, go on try it!
How many times have we heard Christmas is for children, no it’s not – the child is in all of us – just reach inside and find it. Let yourself have fun; adults are far too serious but we weren’t once upon a time.
Listen to comedy on your headphones or in the car, you will soon start laughing.
Laughter is infectious. If you smile at someone then they might smile back.
Laughter therapy itself can be to provide help with mental health or stress-related issues, and the US based ‘Laughter Psychotherapist’ Enda Junkins has a site with useful tips.
Laughter Therapy is the UK’s leading provider of team events and workshops
Laughter Association UK provide facilitators to run workshops, events or conferences