Laughter therapy is a real thing. It’s exactly what you think it is: A therapeutic philosophy that uses a variety of techniques to make people laugh. Francine Shore, who started the first “laughter Yoga club” in New York City thirteen years ago, says that the body can’t tell the difference between spontaneous and simulated laughter. It still releases all the feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, and you still get the same psychological and physiological health benefits.
Adults may experience a depressingly low level of laughter. “Children can be heard laughing about 150 times per day,” Shore says. Shore states that adults can laugh up to 12 times per day. This is a shame considering the many mental health benefits laughter can bring. Shore states that laughter can reduce depression and anxiety and lower blood pressure. It also encourages positive thinking and boosts morale.
Shore has been a teacher and practitioner for many years of laughter therapy. She has discovered the secret to happiness and a life full of it. Want in?
Get started in the morning with gratitude
Before you brush your teeth, hug your cat or even get up to do anything else, take a moment to write down three things that you are grateful for every morning. Shore states, “Even though yesterday was a challenging day or you are at a difficult time in your life,” there are always three things to be thankful for. Shore states that the practice of writing down positive things and seeing them before you is “restorative.” This practice will ensure that you approach every day with contentment and not bitterness.
Although it sounds simple, Shore claims that smiling can make you feel happier. She says that smiling makes anyone feel good and that your body can release endorphins by simply smiling. Shore suggests finding a laughing yoga studio in your area to help you achieve your daily smile goal. They are often free or only a few dollars. “It’s inexpensive therapy,” she said. “In these political times, smiling is more important than ever.”
It’s a very simple technique but it can make a huge difference in mood. Shore states that deep breathing and pranayama yoga increase your diaphragm and deliver oxygen to your cells. Both practices can help you feel calm and grounded. Shore suggests taking a 5- to 20-minute break every so often to focus on your breathing and close your eyes. You shouldn’t meditate while driving.
Shore states that the most happy people are those who get out in nature and sunshine as often as they can. Nature has the power to heal and awaken our senses and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also increase creativity and productivity. Why? Shore says nature reminds us there is more to the universe than we think, and that this helps us manage our egos. Shore also suggests that taking the time to appreciate the beauty around us can help us realize that there is “truly good in the universe.” To reap the benefits of being outside, you don’t have to live near the ocean. You can get outside by simply walking around your neighborhood or taking an hour to the park.
Make a move
Have you ever noticed that the happiest people are those who sing and dance to their own tunes? It’s not a sign of happiness. Music and dancing can make you happier. Shore suggests that singing and dancing in public places, such as in the car or at the grocery store line, is a good idea. Dance is a great cardio exercise.
Wear Bright Colors
The world’s most happy people use color therapy, regardless of whether they know it. Shore advises that you should always wear bright colors because they can improve your mood and the mood of others. You can “enhance creativity and productivity” by adding color to your home, makeup, or office desk. Bright colors like yellow can brighten up your mood if you are prone to feeling depressed. You might choose something calmer, such as lavender or muted green, if you are prone to feeling anxious.
Shore states that volunteering is a great way to find long-term happiness. It allows you to step outside your bubble and do something for others. It’s a great way for you to get out of your head when you feel blue. To shift the focus from you and put it on someone else. It doesn’t matter if your activism is small and local (like volunteering an hour per week at an animal shelter), or if it is more global, it will give you a strong sense o purpose that many of the most positive people in the world possess.
If you’re more into a dog, you can also get a puppy. Shore states that pets are a wonderful source of joy and entertainment. According to Shore, 2014 studies show that pets can lower blood pressure. They make us laugh and smile, and your dog doesn’t care if your hair is wavy or your outfits are the same two days in succession.
“Did you mention Netflix?” Shore said. Being happy doesn’t need to be difficult. Shore suggests that you do whatever it takes to have fun. Shore says, “Laugh often and have a lot of fun.” Everyone else will be going to Manchester by the Sea. You can stay at home and watch Bridesmaids. Shore advises, “Find the funny even in the most mundane of places.” Choose levity in every aspect of your life. It’s a positive way to cope with stress.