An average adult laughs about 10 times a day. Put that up against the 300 laughs that an average child enjoys in a single day. No wonder why the little ones are happier, healthier and more enthusiastic than the grown-ups. And this claim is not just a possibility, it is a fact understood from years of scientific research, which has proved without the slightest hint of doubt—the great medicine that laughter can be!

It is now an established fact that laughter has the ability to enhance the overall well-being in many ways. A good laugh helps us to relax, lighten our mood and shed the weight of many problems we face on a day-to-day basis. This can be traced to laughter’s ability to counter stress hormones and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemical. Laughter significantly improves blood circulation and keeps heart attacks at bay. The body’s immunity system also receives a tremendous boost from laughter. Apart from all of these physiological benefits, laughter helps us see the lighter side of life and approach our challenges with a different perspective.

Laughter yoga or ‘Hasyayoga’ is a form of laughter therapy that has gained a lot of momentum recently. It is grounded in the theory that voluntary laughter is as beneficial as spontaneous laughter, and is practised in groups. One may think that this exercise might feel very forced or does not have much potential. But once we indulge in laughter yoga, we quickly realise that this assumption is not true. Forced laughter soon evolves into real and contagious laughter. A study conducted at Oxford University in 2011, found a clear link between laughter and increased pain thresholds. Laughter is, indeed, one of the best ways to develop the body’s various capacities and take social bonding to a whole new level.

In today’s competitive world, everyone is consumed by the race to be the best. But in this race to reach the top, we should not compromise on our health and happiness. Clearly, our health is a bigger asset than any wealth. In our quest to achieve more, we should not leave our mind and body trailing behind.

Our generation needs to learn the art of happiness. One of the biggest keys to enjoy a jovial life is the ability to laugh freely. We need to be able to laugh our way out of every difficulty, big or small. No problem is big enough, that we should let it take away our smile and enslave us in a dungeon of despair. We should understand that worrying about our problems, does nothing to solve them. Worrying is equivalent to inviting negativity, anxiety and depression to destroy our inner joy. In India alone, there is an average of 371 suicides daily. Between 40% and 50% of India’s corporate employees suffer from depression. The government estimates that 1 in 5 people require psychological or psychiatric counselling.

All these statistics reveal that as a country, we have forgotten how to be happy. India, the land of vibrancy, needs to bounce back from this situation. For this, each one of us needs to bring back the laughter into our homes, schools, offices and surroundings. We need to spend more quality time with friends and family, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Take a minute to crack a joke. Take a moment to see the lighter side of everything. Take a few moments to laugh with everyone. It is only in this laughter, that we can find healing, hope and happiness.

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