Every year, the first Sunday of May is observed as “World Laughter Day” to mark the strongest and most powerful emotion of the living beings called ‘laughter’ and its various benefits. The day is a positive manifestation for world peace and is aimed to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter.
The World Laughter Day was introduced by Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga Movement, in 1998. It was first celebrated on January 11, 1998, in Mumbai. Dr. Kataria started this day with an intention to promote intentional laughter and its healing properties.
The World Laughter Day is now celebrated in major capitals across the globe. Though the first Sunday of May has been dedicated to the sole purpose of promoting laughing, laughter Yoga or Hasyayoga — the practice of prolonged voluntary laughter has become a worldwide phenomenon. Laughter clubs from all around the world practice this form of Yoga to promote well-being and psychological peace.
People also celebrate this day by hugging each other which is also a method to make one pleasant.
If 20 minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits, here are 10 reasons why you should laugh more:
- You get to live longer: Laughter chases away pessimism, thus saving you from depression and increasing your longitivity.
- Boosts immune system: Laughter boosts the immune system by increasing the number of antibody-producing T cells. This makes one less prone to get coughs and colds. It also lowers the levels of at least four hormones that are associated with stress.
- Relieves pain: According to a British study, 15 minutes of laughter can increase pain tolerance by around 10 % as a result of endorphins being released in the brain. These endorphins cause something akin to a natural “high”, leading to pleasant feelings of calm, as well as temporary pain-relief.
- Helps you lose weight: Laughter is a very good physical exercise as it helps to burn off calories. As it speeds up the metabolism, calories and fats are shed faster.
- Protects the heart: When people have a good laugh, the blood pressure increases at first, and then it decreases to levels below normal. Such exercise strengthens the heart’s muscles, reducing the likelihood of heart disease.
- Improves Breathing: The more you laugh, the more air you push out, which in turn cleanses your lungs. It is extremely beneficial for asthma patients.
- Internal Workout: The more you laugh, the diaphragm and the abs contract and even workout the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward.
- Reduces depression: Laughing reduces tension and stress, anxiety, frustration and irritation.
- Boosts Relationship: Men and both enjoy the company of others who laugh more, thus helping one choose partners and also boosting relationship as it acts as a reassurance that one’s partner enjoys his or her company.
- Social benefits of laughter: As laughter is contagious, it makes the people around you laugh as well, thus encouraging friendship and interaction.