By the end of this article, you will have discovered a tool to make you deliriously happy in under 60 seconds. It’s not a trick, and it works every single time.
First, let me ask you this: Why should you want to be happy, anyway –besides wanting the obvious benefit of feeling good? Think about this for a second.
In his book, Happiness is a Serious Problem, Dennis Prager writes that negative emotions can have a profound effect on the people around us. For example, a clinically depressed person may neglect his or her personal hygiene, home maintenance and/or child care responsibilities or engage in actively self-destructive behavior.
In these situations, it’s easy to understand how unhappiness would effect persons close to the sufferer.
But even a common case of the blues can be catching: a spouse who is miserable will bring tension to a marriage. A miserable parent will model misery to a child. A miserable co-worker will bring down morale, contaminating the workplace with discontent, and so forth.
Have you seen yourself in any of the above scenarios? I have.
Just as we tend a cold virus so that others won’t also get sick, the author asserts that we have a moral obligation to be happy so that we don’t infect others –even if that means faking it while we work on a more lasting cure. And, as a side-benefit, the “faking” of happiness will then lead (or at least contribute) to the development of authentic happiness, he says.
Although I don’t always agree with Mr. Prager, he makes a compelling point here, and various studies seem to support him (See the book, Depression is Contagious, by Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D. and the excellent post, “Cheerfulness and Positive Reactions Contribute to Marital Happiness” by Lori Lowe).
From a yogic perspective, happiness is actually the essential nature of the soul –anandamayo ‘bhiyasat (Vedanta Sutra 1.1.12), and our job is simply to uncover it. This happiness differs from the temporary happiness discussed above, which is experienced only by the mind. However, without a happy (or at least a peaceful) mind, it is very difficult to uncover the inherent happiness of the soul.
So here it is: a quick, fool-proof way of getting out of a funk and making the mind happy, so that you can get on with the business of self-realization or taking over the world, or whatever else you need to do.
It’s called Laughter Yoga.
It’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen, but it works like a charm.
Established in Mumbai, India, in 1995 by medical doctor Madan Kataria, what started as a modest gathering of five participants has grown into a worldwide network of Laughter Yoga Clubs in over sixty countries.
A full explanation of its philosophy and practices can be found at the Laughter Yoga website, but suffice it to say, with names like Milkshake Laughter, Hot Soup Laughter, Appreciation Laughter and Forgiveness Laughter, it does a body (and mind) good.
But you don’t have to attend a session to experience the benefits of Laughter Yoga. In your own personal space, you can go from Meh-heh to Mambo in less than a minute.
Here’s a simple way to do it:
1. Get a willing partner who will not breathe a word to another living soul.
The best place to do this is outside in a in a huge meadow or in a remote valley somewhere. Inside is okay, too, but you might wish to shut the windows.
2. Now, make eye-contact and bust out into the best fake laughter you’ve got.
3. Keep looking at each other and “laughing” like a couple of loons.
Here’s what will happen:
If you’re a warm-blooded animal, you’ll start laughing for real.
I told you it’s ridiculous. It’s also genius.
I’m guessing here.
What is certain, though, is that it makes one abandon all decorum and pretension, and the false ego is silenced because you look like a damn fool.
But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself. The 4-minute video below is hosted by the lovely John Cleese and filmed in the birthplace of the Laughter Yoga movement.
Have a nice weekend, everyone.
Offered on the anniversary of 9/11 with an earnest prayer for peace in diversity.
Please visit http://www.commongroundcampaign.org/sign-the-charter/