Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Importance of Laughter Yoga | Amelia Meyer | TEDxPhillipsAcademyAndover

hello if everyone is able and willing I would like you guys to please stand up out of your seats you're gonna be raising your arms side to side so if you want to kind of stagger with your neighbor that could be a good idea we're just gonna focus on some simple breathing techniques I know you guys have been sitting for a while so this is a good kind of I guess practice so we're just gonna stand there shoulders back and as we inhale we're gonna raise our arms just inhale and exhale and then inhale and exhale awesome and now we're gonna have our hands at heart center so from here we're gonna think about the noises that we make when we laugh the kind of oh that leaves our face when something funny happens we're just gonna practice laughter first we have to greet it so we're gonna say namaste laughter just like this namaste laughter awesome all right and now we're just going to practice laughing so ready and cool and now we're gonna transition into warrior so from here be careful not to hit somebody yeah cool you're killing it you're doing great and now we're gonna do some more laughter practice so just hit it again awesome okay you can take your seats again through laughter you have just demonstrated that you reciprocate and understand my happiness laughter of course is a powerful tool which can be used to create more engaging and relaxing environments so one person captured the benefits of laughter dr. morrow and Kataria 1995 mumbai india he was researching a medical article for magazine which he edited on the benefits of laughter when suddenly from behind came the stick of ideas and got him right on the head and to paraphrase he went like this I have an idea if laughter is so good why don't we incorporate it into our daily life more than we already do and so he called out to his wife whose name was Midori and she said and he says Midori I had this insane idea about laughter like let's totally do it I mean let's do this laughter thing and she's like dude great idea let's totally implement it and so he's like great let's do this together I love you and she says I love you too and this is how married people talk when they have great ideas so they go on down to the park and they're like yo guys like anybody want to join our laughter Club and a lot of people are like swerved that is terrifying I'm just trying to take a walk like leave me alone please but three strangers in fact thought this was a great idea and so they joined the laughter Club and then fast forward to the next week they go on back down to the park and they stand in a circle and they tell jokes to make each other laugh and everybody's just in hysterics so when people see other people laughing they want to know exactly what they're laughing about inevitably so when passerby saw the club they would come over and they'd join and everybody was just laughing and having a great time and the weeks wouldn't past and more people join and more people joined yet the same people were making the same kinds of jokes laughing at the same kinds of things and specifically laughing the same kind of way so dr. Kataria was very frustrated he was like I want this to be new fun invigorating but this is all the same everybody is just not that funny and what do I do and suddenly from behind came the stick of ideas and got him again he was like Oh idea if laughter is so good of it for us how do we find the purest form of laughter and then he had it and he called out to his wife he said Midori I have this insane idea again like let's let's make this better and she goes dude I love you you're so smart you're literally a genius like yeah let's implement it and he's like cool so then next week they go on down to the park again and he has this announcement for the further Club and he says yo guys this is kind of random but I had this great idea and I studied the benefits of laughter so today we are going to be laughing at nothing for no reason and everybody was like what I don't think this is gonna work but then it was Madhuri's time to shine she jumped in and she said yo I'm a laughter instructor I mean a yoga instructor but now I'm a laughter instructor too and we're gonna be implementing yoga techniques movements and focus on deep diaphragmatic breathing today and they were like what is this like laughter yoga and everybody was like whoa this is an insane idea we totally dig this let's get right into it and they got right into it and it became laughter yoga right then and there laughter yoga was created in that part and it has grown globally until there are over 5,000 laughter clubs today in over 100 countries and it has been a smashing success so when I learned about laughter yoga my first thought was how does this work and to understand laughter yoga we have to understand how laughter works laughter is a communal act laughter is a contagious behavioral thing in which people can catch it and just as easily pass it all along when psychiatrist ask people why they laugh they often mention comedy jokes memes this TED talk or anything that they find good and funny but the truth is people are actually 30 times more likely the last when they are in a social setting than when they are alone according to British psychiatrist Sophie Scott people laugh when we are together we laugh to show that we understand agree are part of the same group that we like each other and maybe we even love each other also your brain cannot differentiate between real or false laughter so this makes laughter yoga very successful with this in mind the chemistry of laughter in your brain is very simple and straightforward to understand when you laugh levels of the stress chemical cortisol decrease in your brain and levels of the happy chemical dopamine increase in your brain neuroscientist Eric hurdler explains further that there are specific laughter endorphins which fire off in your brain cells and I'm not a neuroscientist but I understand that laughter makes me happy so since 1995 the success of laughter yoga across the world has touched many hearts and today many people meet regularly just to laugh with each other and the world of science saw this phenomenon and had the same question I did their thinking how does this work why does this work and so they scientifically use their science to specifically prove the health benefits of laughter yoga in 2008 there was clinical research done in Bangalore in the US on the effects of stress hormones in your blood during laughter basically it's really used 20 people in a regular yoga class and 20 people in a laughter yoga class and they studied their blood pressure people in the regular yoga class had no change to a slight increase in blood pressure whereas people in the laughter yoga class had a 4 to 6 percent average reduction in blood pressure now this is just a physiological effect in a psychological study at Deakin University participants took laughter yoga classes daily over the course of a month and just after the first session participants rated their general life satisfaction and their self-esteem 15% higher than before then throughout the month and this is the craziest part laughter yoga took anxiety and pretty much just like punted it into the ocean laughs like laughter anxiety gave anxiety anxiety I mean laughter yoga can really do it all at the end of the month people rated their anxiety 60% lower than before which is only 40% of original anxiety which is just an incredible psychological effect so everything points to qatari as hatha yoga as being an effective intervention to increase psychological and physiological well-being now this leads me to my next and final point there are many well-respected media outlets who have conducted extensive research on the mental health of my generation and the facts are plain and simple people born from 1995 to 2006 generation Z are more depressed stressed and anxious than any other generation before or after us according to the American psychology Association the average high school student today has the same levels of anxiety as an average psychiatric patient in the 1950s by not good and adults try to blame this on technology more often than not they say something like this they go why do you have clinically diagnosed depression it's because you've been on that phone turns out there are many many more reasons than that I will now demonstrate why my generation struggles through an interpretive dance my generation is growing up in a time of economic uncertainty climate calamity poor family relations political and humanitarian disasters at a global scale access to drugs and alcohol and we are growing up in a struggling education system my generation is not doing well in so many of my peers have mental illness or go through short-term situations in which they are there are mental effects which we cannot process in the same way that mental illnesses affect our mind so laughter yoga cannot cure mental illness but it can make our days a little bit better and it is now with these statistics it is now that more than ever we need to critically change our focus as young society to just physical hygiene to also incorporate psychological hygiene laughter yoga is a way that we can stay happy and healthy collectively and this will maybe make our minds more tranquil and allow us to lead possibly more fulfilling lives as I said before laughter is a necessary part of communication in which we convey understanding happiness love and the feeling of freedom laughter yoga is the perfect environment to let go of everything and be extraordinarily happy we need more things to laugh at in our lives and laughing yoga should be one of those things so here's my advice to you forget the day forget social stress forget jokes get out there breathe and just laugh for no reason thank you [Applause]

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