The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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Laughter proves to be the best medicine

If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of credit card payments. Your new best friend the creditor will be calling you the nonstop. The tried and true method of using jokes to laugh and relieve stress is one thing that never fails in hard times.

“Whenever I am stressed out, my Dad will tell me one of his corny jokes and somehow it works every time,” said Cassie Gill, an SMU junior.

Just a few minutes of laughter per day can bring significant benefits, therapists say. In an attempt to get a good laugh, people are getting creative.

Laughter clubs, laughter yoga and telephone laughter groups have people around the world cracking up when their world seems to be falling apart.

“Most people think [laughter therapy] happens at comedy clubs and involves a standup routine. It’s not comedy, it’s not humor, and it’s not a joke. It’s a shared experience that makes you laugh and gets you out of your day to day rut,” said Eric Post, a certified laughter leader in Dallas.

With an economy that is doing poorly and the stock markets up and down, most Americans agree that times are tough. In fact, as many as 80 percent of Americans report being stressed about their finances according to a recent American Psychological Association survey.

If you ever feel like you just have to laugh or else you’ll cry, you understand the physical and emotional release of a good chuckle. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol and dopamine. Health-enhancing hormones like endorphins and antibody-producing cells are released during laughter and keep immune systems strong, minimizing the physical effects of stress.

“Laughing is one of the best medicines out there. It can bring a sense of calmness and can bring families together in tough times,” said Susan Black, a registered nurse in Dallas.

More and more people are looking to get involved in laughter therapy after hearing about its positive effects. There are currently over 6,000 Laughter Clubs in 63 countries, 350 of which are in the United States, according to Laughter Yoga International. Even the Pentagon is training military families to practice the exercise.

“I spend seven to nine minutes every morning practicing laughter and sometimes again at night through a laughter class,” Post said.

Laughter yoga is considered a form of therapy and promises stress relief to those who practice it through a simple workout and an evening of lighthearted socialization.

A laughter class, however, does not feature a teacher who tickles the students and it definitely doesn’t require you to do the downward dog. A session of laughter yoga takes place at a laughter club where a leader instructs the class on how to combine laughter exercises with yoga breathing.

Laughter yoga can even help you sculpt your abs. Okay, so maybe it won’t give you the perfect six-pack, but a good giggle does exercise the diaphragm, contracts the abdominal muscles and helps keep the heart fit.

The Move Studio in Richardson is Dallas’ closest laughter studio and holds laughter classes every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Each session hosts around ten students in search of a good laugh. (For more information go to www.movestudio.com)

Another way of getting your daily laugh is to call in to a telephone laughter club. These daily calls, lasting 12 to 20 minutes, are particularly beneficial for individuals, such as the elderly or the disabled, who find it difficult to go to a laughter club on a daily basis. Anyone can call in to listen and laugh.

“I am on vacation in Hawaii but I just couldn’t miss the laughter call,” said Sharon, one of the laughter line callers on Nov. 10.

Although the day when we see pictures of stock brokers laughing after the market crashes are not anywhere in the near future, laughter therapy can help everyday people keep the mood light in heavy times.

“Whether its through watching a funny You Tube video or having a friend call me a joke, I am able to stay positive in stressful times simply by laughing,” exclaims Estee Simpkins, an SMU senior.

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