The science behind that feel-good feeling it isn???t all that complex. The human body releases endorphins in the act of laughter, and those endorphins relieve stress. It is a natural physiological response. Turns out, the body has no way of knowing if your laughter is genuine, or if you???re a big faker.
A study done way back in 2003 documented its participants' emotional state after 60 seconds of "real" laughter and then compared it to 60 seconds of "faked" laughter. Turns out that both kinds of laughter have the same affect on the body. Check it out: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/03/31/1048962698891.html
So?? If the human body has no way of knowing if the laughter is genuine you can reap all the same benefits by faking it. Fake laughter turns into real laughter in my Laughter Yoga class all the time. Go ahead, just try it.
So a study of a couple hundred women undergoing IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) near Tel Aviv found that women entertained by professional Israeli clowns right after embryos were transferred to their wombs had more success in giving birth than those with no Israeli clowns.
The study, published in Fertility and Sterility, found that 36 percent of women with Israeli clowns became pregnant, as compared with the 20 percent of clown-free embryo transfer procedure. Not surprisingly, women conceiving the conventional way were found to have a much lower success rate with Israeli clowns in their room at the time of conception. I'm just saying…
Leader of the study, Dr. Friedler said he got the idea for the study because laughter is a "natural anti-stress mechanism."
Friedler, who is based at Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre in Zrifin, Israel, said,"Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are incredibly stressed. So I thought that this intervention could be beneficial for them at the crucial moments after embryo transfer."
Friedler added that if studies at other centres back up his findings, fertility clinics elsewhere might try it too. I'm just hoping I'm fertile enough to keep the clowns out of my own uterine activities. Do you think clowns that speak Hebrew are funnier than French or English ones?
Did you know we've been laughing for 7 million years?
The Quarter Review of Biology recently published a study on laughter. There are two kinds. (Of course, Osho wrote about four kinds, so science is still lagging behind on this front…)
Thee first kind of laughter is a) spontaneous and b) stimulus-driven. The study says that just because someone is laughing with you, doesn???t mean that it is spontaneous or stimulus-driven, which is the natural kind of laugh that mirrors ape play, which arose around seven million years ago.
The second, ???dark side of laughter??? kind of laugh is strategic and sometimes can be cruel. "One type of laughter arises spontaneously from the perception of a certain class of events, while the other is used strategically in interaction to influence others or modulate one's own physiology," said Gervais, who is a researcher in the Evolutionary Studies Program at Binghamton University in New York. Here's where I read the article.
In laughter yoga, I aim for my laughter to always be the first kind of laughter. But I don't think this study gets at the whole picture. Laughter needs to be practiced to become part of one's life if it's been missing for a long time. That's why in laughter yoga, we encourage one another to laugh, through exercises designed to create that spontaneous first kind of laughter. Don't feel discouraged if it takes time to remember how to laugh spontaneously. It's still a practice for me. I'm even starting to laugh at standup comedy again after years of training myself to slap the table with a straight face and say in a deadpan tone, "That's funny." But it takes practice.
So come practice. Come take a laughter yoga class with me. Or come see a standup comedy show!
Six to One : Six Weeks to Complete One Creative Project
Are you ready to kick your creative work into high gear?
Starting in January, and meeting for six weeks, the Six to One course will challenge and hold you to complete your chosen creative goal. Each week, we'll meet, set intentions, check in about our work, and set about the task of completing a creative goal. We'll also have guest co-leaders teach a new skill each week that will empower you to get closer to your goal.
Life is short: If you've had a creative project on the back burner–or the front burner–for months or years and needed that special combination of kick-in-the-butt and holding-the-hand to really get it done, this is your chance. Life is short and it's time to live it up!
Small Group, Special Attention: With eight participants, you will divide into four pairs. Your partner for the course will be your daily action partner (you'll let each other know at the beginning of the day what you plan to do and at the end of the day what you did do.) We'll also have a mid-week phone call to check in about your progress each week so that you don't have any chance to slip through the cracks.
The evening meetings will be approximately three hours; the first hour will be for checking in, and a new guest co-leader each week will join us for two hours and lead us in the following skills.
Week One: Visioning, clarifying and setting intentions for your project. We'll get really clear on what your project is, get a timeline worksheet to break the work into manageable sized tasks, and then give each participant the attention of the group.
Guest co-leader and I "circle" the group regarding desire and fulfillment and letting the deep heart lead.
Week Two: Writing and the unconscious, opening the channel to creativity.
Guest co-leader and I lead the group to unblock the heart and the pen and help you "blow out the pipes" to get the creative juices flowing. We'll write until we get blisters on our fingers. Well, almost. And this will be a practice you can take into the next five weeks to increase the speed and reduce the censorship of your creative flow.
Week Three: Making your dreams sing, using your voice.
Guest co-leader and I lead a voice session that will allow you to purify, align and express your intentions, and make them manifest through sound. As you speak your dreams, you reify them.
Week Four: Embodiment and aliveness. Your life is a performance. We are working from the subtle levels to the gross, from inside out in this course. This is the process of manifestation. This is not airy-fairy stuff, it's just plain creation.
Guest co-leader and I will take you from thought to word to speech to body, and awakening your whole being.
Week Five: Support, self-care, and stepping into a bigger you. One reason we don't step into a bigger Self in our lives is that staying small keeps us "safe".
Guest co-leader and I lead you in learning the essential skills of self-care and boundary setting that allow for a sense of safety and security which ultimately allow you to take your wings and fly.
Week Six: Celebration and integration. If you have ever found yourself caught in a never-ending cycle of doing without rest and appreciation for the hard work you've done, you may not have learned how to enjoy yourself properly.
Guest co-leader and I offer a celebration and integration of music and party (!) where you will learn to truly celebrate your accomplishments and allow yourself to receive the benefits of your work. Authentic joy and celebration builds in such way that it pervades every area of our lives and warms the hearts of all those we come in contact with.
It's not where you are that matters. It's how far you've come.
Early bird signup: now until December 11 for only $195. After December 11, the course is $295.
In this project-based course, you get the support of:
-Special attention with a small group
-Community building with fellow artists and creators
-Eighteen (18) hours of class time
-A daily action partner to check in with
-A midweek conference call with the group to keep the momentum high
-Email access to Alicia for questions