In reading the title of this post, you may have been left wondering how any of the following are possibly connected:
- Laughter Yoga
- A Good Night’s Sleep
- Glial Cells
- A Healthier Brain
And for that matter, what the heck is a glial cell? First of all, let’s get that fancy term addressed. Glial cells are a type of cell that are involved in keeping the nervous system running smoothly. I like to call glial cells “janitors of the brain that work the night shift”. You see, when we sleep these glial cells come in and tidy up our brains by doing away with any waste that resulted from unused neural pathways during the day prior to that sleep (Just FYI – a neural pathway is simply a communication path that the nervous system uses to let the brain and body know how to react in certain situations or in response to certain stimuli). To summarize and simplify, when a neural pathway goes unused in the brain, it breaks down slightly, and the glial cells come in at night and clean up that waste, in turn, weakening those unused pathways a small bit.
Next up – a healthier brain! The happier we are, the healthier our brains are! One of the most well-known effects of laughter yoga is that it increases our joy and happiness (BONUS: it also increases the joy and happiness of those around us as our beautiful glow rubs off on them). This is because when we practice laughter yoga, we are creating and using neural pathways associated with happiness and positivity. Thus, the more that we incorporate laughing into our day, the more we are using these positive pathways, and the less we are using any pathways that are associated with negativity or something similar. This breaks down those negative pathways, and it strengthens those positive pathways, which increases our happiness and joy. Ta-da! We are now happier, and that means we have a healthier brain!
Ah-ha! Now it’s all making sense! If we practice laughter yoga daily, we create an ongoing daily cycle of laughter yoga -> great sleep -> glial cell janitors working -> a brain that gets healthier and healthier because of it all!
1. We make laughing a regular occurrence throughout our day by practicing laughter yoga with our laughter buddies and by ourselves. This laughter encourages positive and happy neural pathways to be created and traveled within the brain, while leaving the pathways associated with negativity and the like idle causing them to break down slightly.
2. The laughter yoga that we’ve practiced all day aids in helping us to get a good night’s sleep following our day. We fall asleep more easily, and we sleep more deeply and soundly.
3. While we are sleeping, those little glial cell brain janitors hop into action by coming in and cleaning up the waste from the slight breakdown of the negative pathways that occurred throughout the day, and weaken them.
4. This glorious cycle has now made the neural pathways associated with happiness and positivity stronger, and thanks to those handy glial cells, the negative pathways have become weaker. This actually wires the brain to prefer to use those stronger pathways of happiness, joy, and love, and the happier you are, the healthier your brain is.
Isn’t this exciting? By simply doing laughter yoga daily, which is so enjoyable and fun anyway, we get the benefits of increased happiness and joy, a good night’s sleep, and a healthier brain! And you guys, this only touches the surface when it comes to all of the benefits of laughter yoga – there’s so much more, and we’re just getting started!
Follow along with my blog and videos to learn more and to experience all of the benefits of laughter yoga for yourself! It’s one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and those around you, and it doesn’t cost a thing! 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.