Is there a silver bullet to instant happiness? Yes, and it’s an idea that I would hazard to guess wouldn’t even be on your radar. Drum roll please…
Fake laughter (aka practicing laughter).
Yes, you read that right, I said “fake.” Doesn’t fake laughter usually have a negative connotation?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the many benefits of real laughter in your life, like boosting the ‘ol immune system, bringing you more energy, lower levels of pain, and protecting you from the dreaded Adultitis, which leaves you a stressed-out mess. But, did you know that fake laughter brings you the same exact results!? I learned this fabulous life-changing fact from Katie West, the Levity Coach. In her work as a certified life coach, she encourages the rediscovery of laughter and playfulness as a way to fuel the work of achieving your dreams. She shared in a recent blog,
“Pretending to laugh (or practicing laughter) can alter our body chemistry since our brains can not tell the difference between real and fake laughter.”
So, the benefits of “real” and “fake” laughter are the exact same! This simple statement is what gave me the courage to take the first step towards participating in her “15 Minutes With the Levity Project,” in which you gather in a public place and laugh for 15 minutes. My first (and only) objection to this idea had been answered right away… how would I laugh for 15 minutes straight? What would be so funny? As Katie assured, pretending to laugh is just as good for you. So, last Saturday fellow Wisconsin blogger Lance Ekum from The Jungle of Life joined Jason and me as we co-hosted the first Madison Laugh Flash. It was a blast!
Here’s a video about the event from the NBC news…
In preparation for the event, Katie shared with us that laughter is made up of three words… Ha, Hee, and Ho. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, all you have to do is belt out some fake laughter, and immediately your body will start to release endorphins and you’ll be feeling good. Much of Katie’s work falls under the umbrella of “laughter yoga,” an amazing movement founded by the Indian physician, Dr. Madan Kataria. This CNN clip is a good summary of what this is all about.
So, it’s time to be honest with yourself. Could you use a little laughter in your life? Do you find yourself dealing with the stress that accompanies adulthood? Would your body benefit from some natural stress-relieving chemicals? Do the people around you need an excuse to smile and chuckle? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s time to incorporate a little (of A LOT) of fake laughter into your day. Before you know it, you’ll be laughing for real and making some real improvements in your health and in your attitude.
Get started right now… ha ha ha, ho ho ho, hee hee!
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