LOL! The healing benefits of laughter

Learn how to cackle, chuckle, and giggle your way to better health.

Animation of people laughing

What is laughter yoga, exactly?
Laughter yoga is a combination of three powerful elements: laughter exercises, deep yogic breathing exercises to help calm ourselves, and mindfulness meditation. And we don’t leave laughter up to chance, so we’re not telling jokes to get people to laugh. Instead, we’re creating situations where we laugh at ourselves.

What do you say to people who think laughter yoga is silly?
People who have never tried it can easily dismiss it as being frivolous, but they don’t realize the health benefits behind it. If you take a deep breath in and laugh it out, you’re squeezing out all the oxygen and that forces you to take a new breath of clean, fresh oxygen. This oxygen replacement and renewal in your lungs is great for energizing yourself. And deep breathing draws more oxygen to your heart and brain. It’s great for circulation.

How can laughter yoga help with stress?
If you practice laughter yoga for 10 to 15 minutes daily, you will find that you start reacting to stressors differently. It’s easy to laugh when you’re having fun and celebrating something, but the art of laughter yoga is learning to laugh during situations when you would normally feel upset or overwhelmed.

If someone cuts me off in traffic, instead of getting upset and getting my blood pressure up, I choose to take a deep breath and laugh it out. I teach people to do that because it gives them time to process what just happened and figure out how to de-escalate that stressor.

How can people laugh more every day?
When you get up in the morning, greet yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, beautiful!” and laugh at yourself. Imagine you’re washing your face with laughter water, so you can laugh and wash your face. Be a little more playful with how you look at yourself and appreciate yourself and others. You can incorporate more laughter into your day with whatever you’re doing.