The Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter To Change Chemistry & View Life Differently
In yoga, it is called the "Laughasan". In this practice, one lies on the floor on their back, with their feet pulled up towards their butt and begins to laugh - out loud - not to any particular thought, but for the pure sake of laughter itself. This thoughtless laughter will make one laugh more until he or she is squealing with laughter. On completion, one feels more elated, lighter and more in tune with the joy of the present moment.
Laughter therapy, from a scientific perspective, is a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapy that does not rely on pharmaceutical drugs and can be used as an adjunct to formal medical treatments for depression. As stated in an article published by Sahmyook University in South Korea, "Laughter can mitigate the effects of stress by decreasing stress-making hormones found in the blood. Laughter decreases serum levels of cortisol, epinephrine and growth hormone, indicating a reversal of the stress response. Depression is a disease, where neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, are reduced, and there is something wrong in the mood control circuit of the brain. Laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity." (Source: PubMed: Department of Physical Therapy, Sahmyook University, "Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review.)