Tomorrow, Sunday May 2, is World Laughter Day.
Readers may wonder why I acknowledge something as frivolous as a day for laughter. Given the pandemic isolation that most of us experienced, for more than fourteen months, a good dose of laughter is overdue.
More than ever, the world needs a good belly laugh as much as it needs vaccines for every person to eradicate the Coronavirus.
Origins of World Laughter Day
Established in India in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the laughter yoga movement, World Laughter Day is viewed as a day when laughter and its associated emotions can influence friendship and peace everywhere. World Laughter Day is celebrated in over 100 hundred countries on the first Sunday of May.
Dr. Kataria believed that a person’s facial expressions affect mood and disposition. She established the laughter yoga movement with a guided body exercise practice, usually done in a group setting. Laughter yoga combines breathing exercises with laughing. It promotes energy by stimulating oxygen flow through the body to the brain.
Although I had attended yoga classes for years, I had no experience with laughter yoga until I was introduced to it many years ago during a workplace event. I was amazed when a usually-shy workplace colleague led a workshop designed to open a day of strategic planning with a series of laughter yoga exercises. Some of us were skeptical and reserved at the beginning of this 15-minute session but quickly found ourselves laughing out loud. What a great way to put everyone at ease!
Benefits of Laughter
Memories of the laughter yoga workshop keep coming back. Researchers at Loma Linda University https://lluh.org/patients-visitors/health-wellness/live-it/online-health-show/episode-5-laughter-and-memory found that laughter decreases cortisol, a stress hormone. Apparently, stress reduction from laughter also improves short-term memory!
Laughter also helps us to ride out daily aggravations. I have one friend who seems to laugh her way through everything. Mostly she laughs at herself. She tells me that it’s impossible to laugh and be angry at the same time.
As I was writing this post, I remembered writing about the health benefits of laughter in an earlier blog post. When I looked through my archives, there it was — a post written in 2012! I refer readers to this post as I can’t say it better in 2021. https://www.postworksavvy.com/why-laughter-kee…-and-healthy-too/
I hope every reader finds some way to mark World Laughter Day. Whether it’s a silly joke, a pun, or a funny movie let’s try for a hearty belly laugh to enjoy the day!