Laughter feels good!
Now there is evidence that it is good for your brain.
When you are engaged in joyful laughter, the whole brain gets involved and exhibits high frequency Gamma waves, the kind of brain activity that is seen in adept meditators while they are meditating.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation leads to greater clarity of thought and greater ability to engage in integrative thinking. In a simple sense, meditation calms the noise in your brain and enables you to apply your full working memory to tasks or challenges. But meditation takes practice and dedication. Don’t get me wrong; meditation can deliver impressive short-term and long-term benefit, and is highly recommended.
Now there is preliminary evidence that laughter can accomplish something very similar, and almost everyone can laugh without much effort or practice. We yet know how long this lasts but what the heck; it is free and readily available.
More Reasons to Laugh
While this new study is small and doesn’t make a direct connection to better thinking, it presents some promising evidence that laughter has a serious side that is good for your brain.
But don’t wait for new research before you seek out reasons to laugh. There are other well established reasons to get chuckling.
Like smiles, laughter reduces stress and puts you in a positive mood. And positive moods are associated with health and well-being.
Then there is Laughter Yoga. Unlike the spontaneous joyful laughter that comes from humorous situations, it is contrived, at least at the beginning. Laughter is contagious, so what might start out as forced quickly takes on a laughing life of its own. Whether it produces Gamma waves in the brain is an open question. It is very likely but even if it doesn’t it has health benefits. Madan Kataria, the guru of Laughing Yoga, claims that it has positive effects on the cardiovascular system and clearly reduces stress. He now has a huge number of worldwide advocates.
Check it out for yourself in theses YouTube videos.
First, watch this one where John Cleese asks the master about the benefits of laughter yoga.
Next, watch the 100 Laughter Yoga Exercises and try some of them out for yourself.
More Ways to Bring on Laughter
Need more reasons to laugh? Google humor or jokes. But a surefire ways is to watch the “Best Baby Laughing” video on YouTube. At last count it has made over 7 million people laugh.
If you are like most people, you take laughter when it comes your way. You might want to think about deliberately finding reasons to laugh. A German research reports that in the 1950’s people laughed 18 minutes per day. Now it is down to about 6 minutes. During the same period, stress, anxiety and depression have markedly increased.