When you laugh, you change, and when you change, the whole world changes. Dr. Madan Kataria, M.D., Founder, Laughter Yoga Movement
Have you ever found yourself surrounded by brilliant, compassionate, and creative people? For months, I interviewed more than 60 such luminaries, all of whom contributed to my new book, Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together. The book features easy, meaningful, and fun activities for people living with dementia and their care partners.
Dr Madan Kataria, founder of the globally acclaimed Laughter Yoga movement, taught me how important and easy it is to consciously add laughter into the day.
“Do you know the Ha Ha chorus?” he asked, during our Skype session.
I had to answer, “No.”
He began singing, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha,” to the tune of Happy Birthday to You. I was instantly laughing, as was he.
Carmela Carlyle, who is a Dementia Care Specialist, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, and the creator of the training DVD, Laughter Yoga with Elders, offered simple tips for adding laughter into daily life, including “Ha ha ha-ing” at traffic lights and while cooking a meal together.
From these two luminaries, I learned the importance of consciously integrating laughter into daily life. Dr. Kataria explained that laughter improves blood circulation and increases the net amount of oxygen to body and brain, which makes us feel more healthy and energetic. Laughter also makes our immune system stronger. Plus, laughing with others builds a social bond and reduces feelings of isolation.
Carmela Carlyle says, “When we laugh, our jaws move, sending a message directly to the brain to release feel-good hormones. People living with dementia can bypass the intellect and go directly to the powerful medicine of laughter.”
To add more laughter into your life, visit www.laughteryoga.org
Madan Kataria, MD, is the founder of the Laughter Yoga Clubs movement, which started in 1995 in Mumbai, India. Dr. Kataria is an internationally acclaimed speaker and a corporate consultant for holistic health, stress management, team building, leadership, peak performance and communication skills. He is associated with a number of research projects to measure the benefits of laughter. www.laughteryoga.org
Carmela Carlyle, is a psychotherapist, Eldercare Specialist, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and Certified Integrative Yoga Therapist. Her DVD, Laughter Yoga with Older Adults: Joyful Chair Fitness, is used all over the world. www.carmelacarlyle.com
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.