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Be part of The Laughie Challenge for mental health

Laughter Yoga Australia has launched to improve Australians’ mental health. It doesn’t involve telling jokes or playing pranks. It’s about laughing longer and louder than the average social haha for your health.

Laughter Yoga Australia – representing laughter yoga practitioners and followers across Australia – hopes people of all ages across the nation will take up ‘the laughie challenge’ to promote better mental health.

What is a laughie?

A laughie is like a selfie. Instead of a photo, you create a one-minute video (or sound recording) of yourself laughing, using your smart phone. You watch and listen to your recording whenever you feel the need. You find yourself laughing along.

What is the laughie challenge?

#thelaughiechallengeoz involves recording yourself laughing for up to 60 seconds, playing it back to yourself when you need to lift your spirits and sharing that recording with a friend for an uplift, encouraging them to follow suit.

Proven benefits of ‘the laughie’

As a wellbeing tool, ‘the laughie’ is tried, tested and proven.

Psychologist Freda Gonot-Schoupinsky can take the honour for coining and developing the term ‘laughie’. Her research was published in 2019.

Gonot-Schounpinsky searched for a tool the medical community could prescribe to people who needed to laugh more: a tool that was quick and easy to use.

Her work found that laughing with a laughie 3 times a day for 7 days increased wellbeing by 16 per cent in healthy adults.

Participants also laughed more with others, slept better, and felt more relaxed.

In her research, Gonot-Schoupinksy ackcnowledged that the idea of laughing alone or solo was ‘unusual’.

As she later explained “laughter is usually a social activity: we’re 30 times more likely to laugh with others than when we’re alone. But you can laugh when you’re on your own and experience its benefits this way – you just need to get used to the idea.”

She also called the practice of recording a laughie ‘smart laughter’: laughing in a smart way for a smart reason (better health) on a smartphone 🙂

While participants of this gelotologist’s research had only to record and replay for themselves, some did take it a step further, sharing with another or others, and that’s what #TheLaughieProjectOz seeks to do.

What #thelaughiechallengeoz involves

Laughter Yoga Australia spokesman Merv Neal asks Australians to not only record and listen back to themselves laughing whenever they feel the need for a boost: he wants participants to forward their recording to a friend to brighten and lighten their day.

Watch Merv Neal’s laughie on the project’s Facebook page. ‘Like’ away!

You could use the hashtags #thelaughiechallengeoz #laughiechallenge #laughteristhebestmedicine and #mentalhealthuplift too.

We’ve all got one minute to spare in our day. Maybe not 20-30 minutes for a sit-com that may or may not have us laughing: here’s my laughie.

Health benefits of laughter

Laughter brings many varied health benefits. Some of the health benefits include:

  • stress management
  • improved mood
  • lower blood pressure
  • better heart health

Read about 25 health benefits here. No wonder the old saying goes that laughter is good medicine.

Is the laughie challenge laughter yoga?

Laughter Yoga is a process that enables us to laugh for an extended time as a physical act rather than an intellectual response to something funny. Laughter Yoga, developed by a doctor in India in the 1990s and practised around the world, combines clapping, gentle stretches, intentional laughter and yogic breathwork.

While Laughter Yoga is usually done in a group — in-person or online — practitioners are encouraged to laugh alone to develop the habit, boost benefits and embed practice. In this way, ‘the laughie’ in some way illustrates the power of what we do. Read more about some laugh alone exercises.

For Australia’s mental health, let’s laugh. Are you ready to take up the challenge?

The Happydemic’s HeatherJoy Campbell is Queensland’s leading laughter wellbeing trainer and facilitator, working with communities and workplaces serious about supporting their people’s resilience, mental health and connection.