After previous health and wellness challenges that saw him give up alcohol, adopt a biphasic sleep schedule, and work out every day, YouTuber Craig Benzine (aka WheezyWaiter) is trying a different kind of experiment in his latest video: Laughter Yoga. This is the practice of voluntary laughter popularized by Dr. Madan Kataria which is believed to provide the same emotional and physical benefits as spontaneous laughter.
Laughter triggers the release of oxytocin in the hypothalmus (sometimes called the “love hormone”), which can make an individual feel more relaxed, confident, and overall more relaxed.
Benzine pledges to spend five minutes a day laughing nonstop, to see if there is a long-term positive impact on his mental or emotional state. And the first thing he learns — aside from the fact that laughing on purpose seems awkward and weird at first — is that five full minutes of giggling is physically exhausting.
“I’m exhausted,” he said after his second attempt. “I do feeling loose, comfortable and generally good all over.”
Over time, Benzine gets used to his daily laugh and even plays around with different styles of laughing on different days, including the “Eddie Murphy” and the “super-villain”.
“You can totally fake a laugh enough that it starts to sound like a real laugh. That’s really good,” he says. “Part of the challenge is to try to laugh realistically: get it out of the gut, make it sound real.”
Ultimately, Benzine derives some benefit from his willful laughter and finds that even on days when he doesn’t particularly feel like sticking to his new habit, once he does, he always has. tend to be glad they did:
“Just like meditation, just like exercise, just like yoga, things you force yourself to do to feel better, when you’re tired, that’s when you don’t want to do it the most. I want living in my fatigue… That’s the last thing you want to do is laugh. But it works. Laughing makes you laugh more… It gets you over that hump and I feel better now… It makes your whole body feel good and it lasts for several hours afterwards.”
“This experience was a good reminder that nothing is really funny or not funny, it’s more about whether you can find the humor in yourself,” he adds.
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