This annual event takes place on the first Sunday of every May. World Laughter Day 2019 falls on 05 May 2019.
This celebratory day has been around since January 1998. The first gathering took place in Mumbai, India and comprised of about 12 000 members from local and international laughing clubs.
In this article we will cover all the basics around laughter and why laughter truly is the best medicine!
Enjoy and don’t hold back the LAUGHTER. #WorldLaughterDay
*The following links and ideas are for entertainment purposes alone. Any mental health disorder is serious and should be regarded as such. Never make fun of any individual who is suffering.
What is Laughter?
According to Dr. R. Provine, a laugh is identified by a bunch of short vowel like syllables that are repeated at regular intervals.
(Provine, Robert. (2000). Laughter: A Scientific Investigation.)
Laughter can be triggered due to any communication, stimulation (tickling), or event taking place. It is more probable that you will laugh when in a group environment than when you are alone.
Laughter is further brought on to demonstrate positive emotional states such as happiness, joy, or relief.
What makes it a bit complicated is that it can likewise be brought on by other emotional states such as nervousness, feeling embarrassed, or being confused.
And then, of course, there is the courtesy laugh – when you laugh to be polite even though you don’t get the joke.
Humans usually start laughing from about 4 months of age, however there are some evidence that indicate that an infant as young as 16 days are already capable of producing laughter sounds (Kawakami, Kiyobumi; Takai-Kawakami, Kiyoko; Tomonaga, Masaki; Suzuki, Juri; Kusaka, Tomiyo; Okai, Takashi (2006). Origins of Smile and Laughter: A Preliminary Study).
“Laughter is a mechanism everyone has; laughter is part of universal human vocabulary. There are thousands of languages, hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way.” ~ Robert Provine
The key factor to why laughter evolved, is to increase and sustain social bonds, demonstrate social position, and also for pain tolerance.
Types of Laughter
Fascinatingly enough, there are five different types of laughter.
Spontaneous laughter happens because of an external trigger and is not forced.
Although humor and laughter are two stand-alone events, humor also falls into this category of laughter. This is because humor can cause you to break out in spontaneous laughter.
Stimulated laughter, internal
Internally stimulated laughter is voluntarily triggered by yourself. You can use this self-induced laughter to heal both your mind and your body.
Laughter Yoga is a great practice that incorporates laughter with yoga to ensure a healthy and well-balanced emotional and physical state of being.
Stimulated laughter, external
Someone tickling you will cause you to experience externally stimulated laughter. This type of laughter is dependent on the environment and external physical action.
This type of laughter is brought on by drugs or chemicals, such as inhaling laughing gas or when smoking weed.
This is the scary side of laughing…
Pathological laughter happens when you have no control over when you do or don’t laugh. It is usually uncontrollable and accompanied by crying.
It is a medical condition that is brought on by the Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA).
Did you know? Laughter Online University is a resource and professional training center on how to use laughter as a wellness and overall well-being tool.
Why is Laughter Important?
Laughter has both physical and mental benefits.
Physiologically, it’s a form of exercise that does not come with any after effects.
Psychologically, it will elevate your mood and remove any stress or bad vibes.
Laughter encourages a positive attitude which, in turn, bring on a whole range of further benefits, including increased resistance to illness, improved problem-solving skills, and improved blood circulation. Amazing.
Laughter for Mental Health
Did you know that laughter has been scientifically proven to help with mental health?
Kid you not.
There’s even a name for the study of laughter – Gelotology!
More and more therapists are starting to use laughter as a form of treatment in their sessions. Not only does it provide a plethora of mental health benefits to the client, but it also helps to build trust and open communication between them and the client.
Why we Laugh and Why Laughter is Contagious
You can laugh long before you learn to speak.
But, why do we laugh? And, why do other people laughing make us want to laugh too?
Laughter plays a big role in social bonding. It is also a built-in defense mechanism against stress, pain, and other emotional and physical problems.
It is also said that laughter was used as a form of communication by our ancestors, at a time before language. It was used as a sign of peace, to show that you meant no harm to any threat that may be facing you.
Laughter is more contagious when you are younger. The older you get, the less contagious it becomes to you. This is because your ear becomes trained to recognize the difference between a fake laugh and genuine laughter. When your ear picks up genuine laughter, it triggers a section in your brain that is associated with smiling or other facial muscles, thus preparing you to laugh. And then you do.
There was a laughter epidemic in Tanzania (formerly known as Tanganyika), back in 1962.
3 Girls started laughing while they were in class, and the laughter quickly spread through the rest of the school, village, and surrounding areas.
Some laughed only a few hours, and others laughed up to 16 days!
Can you imagine?
It got so bad, that the school eventually had to close down for a bit as the students were unable to concentrate on their lessons.
Professionals believe that stress caused the breakout as the country was going through many changes, including receiving independence. This caused parents and teachers to place additional pressure on students to perform well at school in order to ensure a better future for the country.
Humorous Mental Health quotes & jokes
“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they’re ok then it’s you.” ~ Rita Mae Brown
“I have a lot of people who believe in me–which sort of scares me because I always knew I was real.” ~ Victoria Maxwell
Provine, Robert. (2000). Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. Drawing upon ten years of research into the most common—yet complex and often puzzling—human behavior. Dr. R. Provine, the world’s leading scientific expert on laughter, investigates various aspects of laughter: (1) its evolution; (2) its role in social relationships; (3) its contagiousness; (4) its neural mechanisms; and (5) it’s health benefits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Kawakami, Kiyobumi; Takai-Kawakami, Kiyoko; Tomonaga, Masaki; Suzuki, Juri; Kusaka, Tomiyo; Okai, Takashi (2006). Origins of Smile and Laughter: A Preliminary Study. “Origins of smile and laughter: A preliminary study”by