Think laughter is just a waste of time? Ha
Kay Dee Johansen
In India they are practicing a new form of Yoga; it is called laughter!
According to Sumit Sharma, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, "Members of laughing clubs meet in groups of up to 50, where after limbering up and breathing exercises, they egg each other on into extended bouts of hilarity."
This fad started when Dr. Madan Kataria set up the first laughing club in Bombay in 1995. Since then hundreds of laughing clubs have been set up all over India. In 1998 Kataria even organized a World Laughter Day at the Bombay Racetrack with 10,000 people showing up.
"We all had a jolly good laugh," he said.
So why all of this need for laughter?
Studies have shown that humor may enhance health by strengthening the immune system, curbing pain and lowering stress. Not only that, but laughter can be a great exercise. It has been estimated that 100 good laughs are the equivalent to 10 minutes of rowing.
According to Dr. James Walsh, author of Laughter & Health, "Laughter is a massaging of all the organs within the body."
Dr. Patrick Dixon, an English physician and author, said, "Laughter is a powerful way to reduce tension and stress, creating a sense of well-being, increasing contentment and alertness, helping us place the problems and difficulties of life in context."
College students might also be interested to know that studies show laughter also improves alertness, memory, learning, and creativity. So the next time you're studying for a test, or trying to decide on a creative idea for a project, take a few minutes to laugh.
Although researchers are still studying the benefits of laughter, there are still a few benefits that need to be proven. According to Rod Martin, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario, there is no real proof that laughter can lower blood pressure, or aid in the healing process.
"For all its popular appeal, that happy idea hasn't really been proved," Martin said.
Still, on those sad days when things aren't going quite as planned, a good laugh may be just what the doctor ordered.
Who knows, maybe India has the right idea? What we need at USU is a laughing club.