The hoo-hoo, haa-haa principle-A A +A
By Mimi Olarga
Saturday, August 18, 2012
I SAW and heard this during the televised tribute for the king of comedy Rodolfo de Vera, a.k.a. Dolphy. Bibette Orteza, who hosted the program, encouraged everyone to mimic laughing. With the hoo-hoo-hoo, haa-haa chant, the family and friends were made to babble the artificial laughter mantra. And this gave the attendees to the wake relieving smiles and hearty laughter.
Yes, it is a fact that humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is indeed far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze.
Sociologists said that when laughter is shared, it binds people together and promotes happiness and intimacy.
Scientists also claim that laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Laughter does not only strengthen our immune system and boost our energy but it also diminishes pain and protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless exercise is fun, free, and easy to use.
And, seven days without laughter makes one weak.
So I tried the artificial laugh exercise. I’m not going nuts. I just wanted to put to test the principle and check if it could de-stress me after a day’s work and provide balance between my mind and body.
No, I don’t do it aloud while walking (which is one of my stress-debriefers). People who see me might make unwanted or unpleasant conclusions on my exercise. I try to hush-hush it to myself. And truly, artificial laughter can draw a smile on your face and can lighten your burdens, inspire hopes, connect you with others and, the best part, keep you grounded, focused and alert.
Why? Studies show that laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving our muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter also boosts the immune system. It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
Moreover, studies also reveal that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
And for those who worry about their heart, laughter protects this very vital organ of our body. It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect us against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Scientifically speaking, laughter does not only have the physical plus but also provide us with mental and social benefits. Besides adding joy and zest to our lives, laughter also improves our moods. Socially it does not only strengthen our relationships with others but it also allows us to work with others well.
For some, employing self-triggered laughter is called “laughter yoga.” This concept is based on the scientific observation that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, and that both provide the same physiological and psychological benefits.
This initially forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter. The "laughter" is physical in nature, and does not necessarily involve humor or comedy.
Laughter yoga, according to records, was made popular by Madan Kataria in his book Laugh For No Reason. This Laughter Yoga Exercise was practiced primarily by groups of older men in open parks. Later, a more formalized version was created and popularized as "Laughter Clubs”.
According to books, Laughter Yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques of stretching, chanting, clapping and body movement. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness.
Laughter exercises are interspersed with breathing exercises. It is said that twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits. The session may finish with "Laughter Meditation" whereby participants sit or lie down and allow natural laughter to flow from within. This can be followed by guided relaxation exercises.
Yes, we saw these groups or clubs featured on TV. And we saw that the technique does not only provide a breathing spell for all our tensions and worries but also cast the stress streaks away.
So the next time we feel down and weary, dreary and gloomy, why not try the hoo-hoo-hoo, haa-haa-haa principle? If Henri Nergson said that “laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks”, then we better try and not suppress it. Or else it would go back down our down our hips. So? Out of the mouth or down the hips?
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 18, 2012.