Overcoming the Brain’s Negativity Bias Through Laughter Yoga

Have you ever heard of a little word called “neuroplasticity”? This term may sound a bit intimidating and fancy, but it’s actually quite simple. It refers to the brain’s ability to change by creating new neural pathways and breaking down old neural pathways. What’s so incredible about the brain being neuroplastic is that each and every one of us has the ability to change our brains as just described through different practices, one of the most effective of which is laughter yoga!

There is a little something called the negativity bias of the brain. Basically, because the limbic system, which is a part of the brain responsible for controlling how we behave, act, or respond to various stimuli, has a role of protecting us, our brains have a natural tendency to look for the bad in different situations. This can be helpful when there is a true threat. However, it can also backfire in that it causes us to think negatively in situations that we don’t need to.

For instance, suppose you just went for a routine check up at the doctor, and after getting home, you see that there is a message on your phone from the doctor’s office. Before listening to the message, it is likely that your brain might start to think of the worst case scenario about why the doctor’s office is calling, when really they may be calling to say everything looks good. That is the negativity bias of the brain…it tends to go to the negative in order to prepare, or protect, you from any real or perceived threat. This isn’t your fault! It’s just the brain doing what it thinks it’s supposed to do.

The great news is NEUROPLASTICITY! We actually have the power to overcome that negativity bias by training our minds to look for the positive. This can be done through repeated visualizations, meditations, repeatedly redirecting negative thoughts, and the like. However, one of the most effective ways to overcome that negativity bias of the brain is through laughter yoga!

Anything that builds new neuronal pathways that are associated with positive thinking can help to overcome that negativity bias, and the more we repeat those practices, the stronger those positive neural pathways become, and the weaker the negative pathways become. With laughter yoga, the simple act of laughing, real or fake, sends the message to our brain that we are happy and that all is well in this moment. Boom! That creates a happy and positive neuronal pathway. Practicing laughter yoga regularly then strengthens that little pathway while the old ones that no longer serve us slowly but surely fade into the background.

Through regular and consistent practice, the positive pathway eventually becomes stronger than the negative one, and the brain starts to take on a positivity bias in situations as opposed to that negativity bias. It still knows how to alert you to danger when needed, and it still knows how to feel emotions appropriately, but it becomes more and more likely to look at the best case scenario as opposed to the worst case scenario in different life events. In other words, through laughter yoga, we are retraining our minds/brains to see the positive in our lives and in the world. In turn, we become more positive, and we can spread this positivity to others. This makes for a much more enjoyable and peaceful life and outlook on things! Start laughing regularly today to overcome that negativity bias of the brain – trust me – you won’t regret it!

If you are looking for a pick me up today, please check out my videos and follow along! If you want more or are looking for a “live” experience, please check out my Zoom sessions. Sending love and laughter to all of you!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only. One should always consult with their doctor or medical professional before taking on any sort of new exercise program.

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