“Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.” – Yakov Smirnoff



Laughter is one of few forms of universal communication and offers a many benefits to us. It is contagious too. The good kind of contagion that helps our mind and body.

Dr. William Fry is a pioneer in laughter research. He claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter. Research also indicates that laughter is a useful and important vehicle for improving vascular health.

According the Mayo Clinic, laughter can:

  • Improve your immune system
  • Help to soothe your tension so you can relax
  • Relieve your stress responses
  • Connect with other people
  • Bring more oxygen into your lungs
  • Help you cope with difficult situations
  • Improve your mood
  • Relieve pain

The focus on laughter and humor caught wide attention in Norman Cousin’s memoir, ‘Anatomy of an Illness’ in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1976. Norman, was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, which is a painful spine condition. He watched Marx Brothers films and TV sitcoms, finding that 10 minutes of “belly laughter” allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.

I used to run a Laughter Club and the purpose of it was to facilitate getting people to laugh without telling jokes. We just did various laughter exercises and when one person started to laugh, the other people started laughing too. Here’s a BBC video of actor and comedian, John Cleese talking about Benefits of Laughter Yoga. http://youtu.be/yXEfjVnYkqM

If you are interested in checking out a Laughter workshop check out http://www.laughteryoga.org. You can also attend one of our monthly ‘Improv Your Business’ sessions where you will experience lots of laughter through the improvisational games and play exercises we do in the Austin, Texas area. http://www.meetup.com/Improv-Your-Business-with-Play-Storming

We don’t need reasons to laugh. We just need to do it more often. As we have gotten older we’ve become more serious for many good reasons. But this doesn’t mean we have to laugh less often. When we are in our office, alone on our computer, we’re less likely to laugh. Finding ways to play with others will help in exercising our laughter muscles more frequently.

So get out there and go play with the people you find funny and start laughing.