The benefit of laughter

By Matthieu Ricard on December 15, 2011

‟To make laugh those who return from the fields with their hands so stiff that they can not close them, those who leave the office with their little narrow chest who forgot the taste of the air, those returning from the factory, head down and broken back, with black oil in the cuts of their fingers, make laugh those who approach death, those who have lost their mother. He who makes them forget for a moment the miseries, fatigue, anxieties and death itself, the one who make laugh those who have much reason to cry, gives them the strength to live and is loved him as a benefactor.” Marcel Pagnol - The Schpountz

It turns out that laughter is also good for health. By producing a state of relaxation and well-being, laughter reduces the level of stress. Various studies have shown that laughter boosts the immune system, slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and reduces sensitivity to pain. The latter effect is related to the production of endorphins released during laughter, which have an analgesic effect.

In India, people practice ‟laughting yoga”. I happened to witness this happy event in a park in Delhi. A group of rather old people sat in a circle on a lawn in the shade of a tall tree. The master of ceremonies began to laugh. For a few seconds, his laughter seemed somewhat artificial, but soon he began visibly to get into the game and began laughing heartily. He was then joined by the other members of the group and it did not take long for all of them to roll over of laughter on the lawn. There are now laughter workshop in the West and several publications have specifically addresses the many benefits of laughter. From the recent photobook 108 Sourires