As laughter yoga and all of its benefits become more and more well-known throughout the world, more and more people are becoming aware of all the happy hormones and chemicals that laughter produces throughout the body. Namely, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins. That’s right, laughter yoga can give us an excellent D.O.S.E. of happiness and joy…anytime, anyplace! In this article, we’re going to concentrate on one of those little chemical messengers, and that is dopamine.
Dopamine is often called the pleasure-reward hormone, because when it is released, it causes a pleasurable sensation throughout the body. That is, when the body and mind are under stress, depressed, or craving a bit of pleasure, they are actually craving dopamine to be released throughout the body. This is fine when dopamine levels are kept in check through healthful practices, but insufficient dopamine levels and this craving sensation that the brain sends out is also responsible for various illnesses and syndromes like depressive symptoms, Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and addictions to unhealthy substances and behaviors, such as overeating, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and the like.
You see, sometimes the brain, namely the hypothalamus where dopamine is produced, can get a little off balance, especially when we are stressed out or overwhelmed. When this happens, we often crave more and more dopamine to be released into our bodies to continue to get that pleasurable sensation and reduce stress or unwanted thoughts or sensations in our minds and bodies. This is when addiction happens – when we take part in an unhealthy practice to give us temporary pleasure and release dopamine into our bodies, and then we crave more and more dopamine, so we crave more and more of the unhealthy practice. Don’t worry though – all hope is definitely not lost, because there is a safe, easy, and enjoyable answer to all of this, and that is laughter yoga!
When we laugh, real or fake, we tell the brain that all is well, and in turn, the brain, not knowing the difference between real or fake laughter, sends that D.O.S.E of happy chemicals throughout our body. Again, dopamine is one of these happy chemicals. Hence, when we practice laughter yoga, we produce dopamine in a natural and non-addictive way. On top of that, we have the added benefits of laughter yoga in general, such as the following:
- Laughter yoga actually improves performance in many areas, such as work, social relationships, athletic performance, etc., whereas addictive substances and behaviors hinder performance in these areas.
- Laughter yoga improves immunity and the health of the immune system, whereas addictive substances, such as alcohol and drugs, decreases immunity.
- Laughter yoga improves brain function in terms of thinking positively, thinking clearly, balancing emotions, and the like. Addictive substances can actually damage the brain’s reward centers and impact brain function in a negative way.
- Laughter yoga provides a tremendous amount of stress relief, and when practiced regularly this benefit becomes greater. However, though one might feel better in terms of stress temporarily by using addictive substances and behaviors, over time they actually put more stress on the mind and body, as well as in other areas of one’s life which is definitely not something we want when trying to keep ourselves healthy both physically and emotionally.
This is all because of the fact that laughter yoga stimulates the brain to produce dopamine in the same way that addictive substances and behaviors do. The big difference, and takeaway of this article, is that laughter yoga is good for you, but addictive substances and behaviors are detrimental to one’s health and overall well-being. Additionally, if someone is struggling with addiction, laughter yoga can provide a fantastic adjunct therapy to other forms of treatment and methods of healing, because it can give one the dopamine they are craving without all the negative side effects of other abused substances and behaviors.
To summarize, laughter yoga is an extraordinary way for one to enable the release of dopamine throughout their bodies, and this is helpful to combat such ailments as addiction and depression. Thus, the next time you’re tempted to seek out pleasure through an undesirable behavior or substance, try laughing instead – all the dopamine, none of the bad effects! Very good, very good, YAY!
To learn more about laughter yoga and all of its benefits, continue to follow along with my blog. To give a session a try, please visit my videos page for both full laughter yoga sessions and quick pick me ups that you can follow along with. 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.