Intentional Laughter as Exercise for Health and Self Discovery

Hi everyone and welcome to “xlnt Conversations” sponsored by xlnt Nutrition and Fitness Disrupting the cycle of chronic stress through Food, Mood, and Movement. I’m your host, Heather Lynn Darby. The topic of today’s segment is intentional laughter as exercise with author, speaker and laughter coach Dave Berman, who can be described as a personal trainer for your inner child. Dave is the author of “Laughter For The Health Of It,” where he writes about how laughter facilitates learning, offers life changing insights about human nature and life’s purpose, and replaces stressed, anxious overthinking with playfulness, joy and clarity. “Everyone who laughs unconditionally each day for exercise and self discovery will find that they’re happier, healthier and a positive influence on people around them.” Check out for more. Today we’ll be discussing all about the health benefits of intentional laughter, as well as a new idea of new to me, subtractive psychology. Welcome, Dave, and thanks for joining us. Thank you, Heather. It sounded really cool to hear those words coming from you! I know, I kind of went to your website and checked out what you’re all about. My first set of questions is about your background and experience in the field, so the office and computer professionals in our audience can get to know who you are, where you’re coming from, and how you can relate to where they are right now. Then on to your latest ideas and thoughts about intentional laughter and chronic stress, which is our general topic, so our audience can understand how they can apply what you’ve learned to their situations in today’s world. So could you tell us a little bit about yourself in terms of background and education and experience in the field? Sure. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication from Cornell University, which was not really relevant to anything. I mean, it was so sort of theory based and I worked in radio after that for 10 years, and then did all sorts of other things until 2010 when I became a coach and a hypnotherapist, and I was studying about mindfulness and also beginning to explore laughter yoga. And all of these influences just melded together in the developing, or emerging style, that I brought to my work. And over time, all of these different ways of interacting and ways of thinking about our experienc as human beings, they were all like salad being tossed together for me. And the more time went on, and the more I was practicing intentional laughter as a daily form of exercise and self discovery, the more it began to shape the way that I was working with my coaching clients. And there was another thing that was kind of coming up alongside this as well, that just very gradually made its way into kind of the depth of my understanding of myself and life. And now it’s often called subtractive psychology or the inside out understanding and it’s the idea that we’re creating our experience from the inside out. And what we’re feeling is only ever a real time reflection of what we’re thinking in that moment. And that’s a very simple overview of what it is. There’s, you know, like peeling onion layers, more and more to it, and I found that the more I was exposed to it, I was I was getting it like intellectually, and it wasn’t translating necessarily to the kind of transformation in my life that other students of this, were experiencing. And then, I began to discover all these insights through laughter that helped me embody this inside out understanding of subtractive psychology. And the insights that I was having from laughter made it possible for me to start sharing what I saw. So it wasn’t just repeating what I’d read in a book, or sharing a meme that somebody else created, or using the words that one of my teachers had said that I’d heard over and over again. Now, I was able to make these ideas my own. And I attribute that level of learning and the capacity, or maybe skillfullness of sharing, to learning through laughter. Nice. So it kind of became integrated into you and you said embodied, like really that somatic experience of the mind body connection. I find a lot of people are really disconnected from their internal sensations. It’s all like mind chatter and external stimuli. And to be able to access that is really a powerful tool in your toolbox. Well, I see the metaphor of tools and toolbox as… it kind of speaks to the idea of techniques. A lot of people are looking for techniques, and I used to as well. And this is why NLP and hypnosis have kind of fallen away from the way that I interact with coaching clients, and what’s kind of emerged in front is this inside out understanding. And so coming from a place of understanding rather than techniques, has proven to be far more valuable and versatile and reflects that integration, which I think is a really nice word that you chose. And it’s even kind of looped back on to, you know, what have I contributed to the laughter community? The global community of people who have been exploring intentional laughter, but without necessarily bringing a lot of talking to it. And I’m not saying we need to talk in laughter yoga classes, I’m saying laughter can give us experiences that are really valuable to unpack. And it’s the inside out understanding that’s allowed me to unpack the laughter experience in ways that have become transformational, for me and for clients and for just casual members of my group on Facebook, for example, Daily Laughers and Think Less Laugh More. So, yeah, I just keep looking in the direction of intentional laughter that comes from the inside out. And just seeing more and more of who I really am and how life really works, and how to help other people have their own insights about this. It’s not for them to you know, remember my words exactly, or do what I tell them to do. It’s about creating space for them to discover this stuff for themselves. Oh, I really like that and that makes a lot of sense when you explained it, that maybe when someone is using techniques and the toolbox analogy, that might be the beginning of their exploration, like that’s the way they perceive it. And then through implementing those strategies, techniques, methodologies, modalities, whatever they might be, you know, framing it as, then it starts to click into their context, and it starts to be from inside out. And that’s where you’re saying the laughter is kind of the expression of that, that you can explore that connection. Does that sound about right? Yeah, well, laughter can be an expression of it. I mean, I think when we have that sort of lightbulb moment, we go Aha, and I like to say, Ah-HAhahahahahaha! Yeah, so you know, an insight or an epiphany is like “Where A-ha meets Haha!” Oh! that’s great! So yeah, I just… I don’t think that any one thing that you might choose to do, let’s say as a technique, is inherently good or bad, right or wrong. It’s more about where are you coming from. You know, are you doing this technique over and over every single day because you feel like it’s important to be disciplined and this is the right way to do something, or from moment to moment, are you really calibrating yourself and tuned into what your inner guidance, your wisdom, your connection to source, there’s lots of ways that people choose to articulate this. Are you being guided from within to do that thing, because if you do that thing coming from one place where it’s a technique, or you do that thing because you feel intuitively guided. It makes a huge difference. And so I say that thing because I’m not talking just about laughter. It could be meditating, it could be going for a walk, it could be taking a bath. It could be any kind of doing that allows you to experience the space in which insights emerge. We all get new fresh ideas. It could be driving to work, you know, it could be gardening. It could be creating art. We all experience those aha moments. And there’s not one technique that says this is what you do to access new fresh ideas. Yeah, that makes sense. It makes a big difference to think about it… you said, where you’re coming from. And that’s such a different perspective, because most people, myself included, it’s very goal oriented in our culture, where are we trying to get to. But it’s equally important where you’re coming from. Because that determines the trajectory. If you’re only focused on where you’re getting to, and you’re not sure you, like you haven’t determined where you are now. Like, if you haven’t been grounded, kind of in your internal, then it’s out of focus somehow, those goals. Because they’re, like you said, it’s the quiet space, it’s the space you’re creating. I think of it as like the interstitial space, the quiet space in between things happening. That where that… things can be, whatever, manifested in your mind… like new things can spring forth, connections can be made. When you’re mind’s not busy – like addressing stuff and thinking thoughts, right? – You can have integration and find where synergies or coincidences, or you know, one of these things is like the others, and how do they mesh, that creativity. That’s such a fun way to think about it. Where are you coming from? Mm hmm. So, anyways, that’s so interesting, but I want to make sure we talk about laughter too. Well, okay. So I want to start out by stress. So when people are having chronic stress, and maybe they’re looking to intentional laughter or laughter yoga, as a practice to explore, like, how do you see stress manifesting in them? And then how do you see it resolving as they start to integrate, start to practice it, then integrate it into that embodied knowing? Sure. Well, there different kinds of stress, like eustress and distress. So stress is not inherently bad. But chronic stress can be very debilitating on the body, its organs and all its systems. So it’s important to distinguish that first of all, Absolutely. Often, the source of our stress in life is just a misunderstanding about where our experience is coming from. We think that we’re feeling our situation, or our relationship with somebody, or something from the past or what we’re expecting to happen in the future. And we lose track of the fact that we’re actually creating that experience of stress in the moment by how we’re thinking about these things. It’s never external. It’s always feeling our thinking in that moment. And we can have stressful thinking or we can have peaceful thinking, we can have creative thinking, we can have worried thinking, we can have any kind of thinking. It’s like wearing a pair of goggles, and then just changing out the lenses. The lens is determining, are we looking at this through a stressful perspective or a peaceful perspective or whatever. So, the stress that we’re experiencing is a reflection of our thinking in the moment. Laughter does a lot of things for us on a biological and neurochemical level, it reduces our cortisol. So our body will relax just from the chemistry. In addition to producing dopamine for pleasure, and endorphins for energy and pain reduction, and oxytocin for making us feel connected with people. So, there’s a lot that’s happening inside the body that changes our physical experience, but laughter also changes our perspective. It helps us to see maybe how absurd we’ve been in our previous interpretation of something and now we can exaggerate it, and laugh about what misunderstanding we’ve now recognized that we just didn’t see before. And that’s where coaching is really valuable. And that’s where I point people just inside all the time. We’re, we’re not laughing at each other. We’re not laughing at jokes. We’re laughing on purpose, as a form of exercise and self discovery. Right. So you were talking about the neurotransmitters and the idea of eustress and distress. And I also include in this concept allostatic load, your total amount of stress from all sources, including eustress and distress. So when we have the fight and flight response, and that’s kind of a distress… well, not necessarily. Sometimes it’s just an activation. It’s a system ramp up ready, ready and waiting to take on whatever the situation is. And it’s like you say, that interpretation in your mind of what turns that into eustress or distress. But in laughing since it’s quite physiological how it happens with the changes in blood gases, the rhythmic movement of the diaphragm, which is definitely connected to the vagus nerve and these signals from the body up to the mind, into the brain, changes that chemistry. And at first I was, when I was doing this research, I was just so fascinated because I’m nerdy that way. (My audience really knows this.) I was trying to think well, how long does it take to have this effect? And I was reading that, initially, it triggers that sympathetic response in an activation way, with epinephrine, like you say and the dopamine, which are excitatory neurotransmitters. But after 20 minutes of this, like, rhythmic diaphragmatic movement with intentional laughter that you extend to the duration of exercise, is that after 20 minutes, all those biomarkers dropped below baseline levels, heart rate, blood pressure, muscular tension. Yeah, and that seems to be in those supra-diaphragmatic organs, the heart and lungs and things of that nature. So I was just really fascinated by that. So all that being said, What is the duration that you facilitate for laughter sessions? laughter yoga sessions? Okay, that’s a, that question seems like a big jump off of what you’re talking about with the the biology stuff. So I’ll say that laughter sessions can vary and it depends on context who you’re laughing with, whether it’s one on one or in a group, online or in, you know, physical public space. It’s recommended that we practice intentional laughter for at least 10 to 20 minutes every day. Okay, So, laughter sessions should probably be at least 10 minutes at a time to allow the benefits to begin accumulating the changes that you were describing and the vagus nerve for example, which is activated when we laugh, this stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Which is the offset to the sympathetic nervous system which is activated as you said, when we go into fight or flight. So going into fight or flight is not a bad thing. It’s actually part of how we’re designed and it’s for our protection, it’s a really good thing and we’d be sorry without it. We don’t want to stay in that state all the time. And so the parasympathetic nervous system, also built into us by design, will kick in to lower those chemical levels and restore our other functions that we don’t need when we’re running from a bear you know, and so we can relax again. The diaphragm, which is not a self-pumping mechanism, like the heart, right. We are choosing to engage it and activate it when we’re laughing, and what a lot of people don’t realize is that this serves as a way to move the toxins in our body. You know, this is in support of our immune system, which is also supported by laughter, because we we create more T-cells when we laugh. So there’s just all these interconnected ways that the body benefits from the physical act of laughing. And what’s most brilliant about what laughter yoga has introduced to the world is that, the body doesn’t know the difference between laughing on purpose and laughing because something’s funny. All the changes that we’re talking about in terms of biology and chemistry and neurology, those things happen from the physical act of laughing, whether it’s coming from the inside out, or whether you’re amused by something outside, that is triggering what we would call conditional laughter. You’re laughing because the conditions of funny exist. And what we’re saying is that we don’t need to depend on the external condition of funny. We can laugh unconditionally from the inside out. That’s so… that’s really good to know. Yeah. And that’s why I was asking and saying all the sciencey stuff, because I was curious if your experience of when that tip over happens between the initial sympathetic kind of activation, and then when the parasympathetic and creating that resilience takes over from the diaphragmatic breathing and activation of the vagal nerve. So that’s cool that between 10 and 20 minutes is the normal amount of time for the exercise. It’s often longer, you know… Oh right? Yeah, if you go to a laughter yoga class or club, those classes, those laughter sessions, when I run them, they’re typically between like 30 and 45 minutes of playful laughter, followed by some, like a laughter savasana, you know, at the end of a more traditional yoga class where we get quiet and we just focus on our breathing and we let all the distractions and the movement and the sound fade away. And we have to kind of ground at at the end of a laughter session, because our energy gets really high. So there’s a lot of benefit to, you know, allowing the space for it to come back down. And then, I like to facilitate a discussion afterwards to give people space to reflect and share their insights about the experience. That’s neat. And that kind of brings me to my next point of inquiry. When we’re talking about laughter intentional or conditional, our face changes into a smile where the muscles have different tensions to them. And there’s a lot of nerves in the face that kind of share fibers with the vagus nerve. And okay, so I was nerding out on Stephen Porges with the polyvagal theory, which speaks to socialization of mammals and making eye contact, and that feeling of safety when you’re in the rest and digest and being in contact with other people. The eye contact and the eye crinkling and where the nerves are. So all that talking about… is it possible to practice a solo laughter session? Is it as effective to have solo laughter, than to be in groups to do the laughter practice? Yeah, my laughter practice has been sustained for years through a combination of both. So absolutely. There may be things that are in common, that are available through solo laughing and group laughing, as well as some differences. So, yeah, there’s distinctions, I suppose. But there’s value available from both. Hmm, that’s cool. Yeah. And like mirror neurons where you make eye contact with someone, and if one person smiles, the other person is more likely to smile. These kinds of things are really intriguing. And then the aspect of the exercise and the physical, you know, increasing of the breath rate of laughter kind of enhances the smiling alone. In fact, when I was going through my life story, and I was in a low point in my life, I heard about smiling meditation. And that’s kind of where I got started. And then it grew into a well, oh, now laughter also seems to be the next logical iteration for me. And that’s how I became so curious. And that’s how I met you, too. But anyway, so I was there trying to do my smiling meditation. And I was like, oh, it feels so weird on my face. And I read, okay, here’s an exercise, just so that you can make the muscles be in that, like, take a pen and I put a pen in my mouth so it would hold the corners my mouth back, just so I could get the feel of it on my face. And I found that that really helped. Because your brain doesn’t know the signals are still being given to your brain. Oh, my face is in this shape… I must be all right. And slowly retrained the neurochemistry and then I was able to slowly kind of bootstrap my way back. So I found it was super powerful and I just kind of want to bring all these ideas to people who are chronically stressed out, overwhelmed at work, you know, trapped inside of their…. ahh, trapped… I used to think it was very luxurious to have a nice safe office job. And little did I know that sitting all day, every day for 20 years was, you know, eroding my health… in front of a screen with poor posture was eroding my health and my emotional and mental health. So this was kind of like, where I broke into the cycle of chronic stress was with smiling, and then starting with laughter, and then making eye contact with people and rehabilitating my parasympathetic response. So I’m just… the work that you’re doing in the world is so valuable, and I really want to appreciate you. Thank you. So um, let’s see. Ok, so I read your book, and it was really fascinating, it had so many laughter exercises, and I recommend that anyone who’s curious, it was a very easy read. But you were talking about some contraindications, some reasons why people might not want to participate in a laughter yoga. A couple of them, I was curious about. So it says hernia… that makes sense if you have kind of like some problems with your abdominal wall, that might not make sense to exercise your abdominal wall. But what about heart disease and blood pressure and epilepsy? Can you talk about that? Sure. So, the body’s changing when we laugh, and we don’t necessarily have complete control over the extent of those changes. And so we want to be safe when we’re inviting people to participate in a laughter class. And if you have frequent seizures, for example, somebody with epilepsy, it may not be safe for you. If you have chronic heart conditions, you know, your doctor will tell you what level of exertion is safe for you. And it’s not my place to tell you that, it’s your doctor’s place to tell you that. And so, these are just some common sense precautions. You mentioned also blood pressure, which is impacted by laughter because laughter dilates the blood vessels. So as blood vessels dilate, that means the blood can flow through more freely. So you’d think that would inherently indicate that laughter lowers blood pressure. If it’s flowing more freely, there’s less pressure. But the truth is that laughter tends to normalize, not just reduce blood pressure. And so the distinction is, once you’ve spent the time laughing and the blood vessels are dilated, and the blood is flowing more freely, and then you have your downtime afterwards, your blood vessels are going to constrict again, at least somewhat, maybe not all the way to where they were, but then the blood pressure is going to go back up as the blood vessels dilate. Now over time, you can keep laughing and having the dilation of the blood vessels- and I can’t make claims of cure…. That’s just not appropriate because I’m not a doctor – but what we see is what I refer to as bioplasticity. So this is the same idea as neuroplasticity, where the brain gets rewired. But we see other parts of the body that it’s not about rewiring, but it’s about other kinds of changes that occurs. So if you have repeated experiences with dilating your blood vessels, and then they constrict a little bit and then they dilate more, and then they constrict a little bit, the net effect can be that they’re more open for you overall and the blood pressure, you know, it may decrease it and increase a little bit and, and decrease and increase a little bit and the net is going to be, over time, that you can normalize your blood pressure. And this is a result of the longer term change to the blood vessels that I would submit represents bioplasticity. I definitely agree. That has been my personal experience, in my health experience as well as in clients that I see, when they start changing the underlying nutrition and mobility in their life, then other things start to change and accommodate in their body. And if they have been on medications, sometimes those conditions stop existing, and they can, they don’t need medication anymore. And I would never recommend someone, you know, go in with the intention of going off their medications, but it is a thing that happens. It is a thing that can happen. So, and I really, I appreciate your professionalism in saying that you’re not a doctor, but you have seen these things. And anyone can read up and know about our physiology and anatomy, about blood pressure and things like that. So I was talking about the flow mediated vasodilation and how the blood vessels are meant to be flexible, and that this is a form of exercise. And it’s very reasonable to say, you know, if your doctor has restricted exercise, this is going to exert you. Your heart rate is going to change. Your blood pressure and blood gas levels are going to change. Your neurochemistry is going to be impacted by exercising this practice. So I think that’s really good to say, if you have health conditions, just as if you are going to go to a personal trainer, they’re… or any doctor for that matter… they’re going to do an assessment, they’re going to ask you a bunch of questions, so that they can get the context of what’s going on for you. But since some people might be practicing this on their own, it’s good to let them know to ask those questions of yourself. Ask those questions of your health care practitioner. And if your health changes, make sure you go back and check with your doctor, do your medications need to change? Yeah, I feel like it’s my responsibility to help people be aware of this. But it’s, I think it’s one of the safest forms of exercise and I want to make sure that I’m not overstating the concerns either, but just to put it in balance. And if there’s one thing above all else that I think helps to do that, it’s understanding that laughter is the sound of joyful breathing. And what we’re doing is breathwork with sound and movement and playfulness. So, if you try out intentional laughter for the first time, and you just laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh for 10 minutes or 20 minutes, but you don’t leave space within that laughing time, for some deep breathing, another risk is becoming lightheaded or dizzy. You need to have some deep breathing amidst your laughter practice. That’s a really good point. You don’t want to hyperventilate, the point is not to get lightheaded. And the breathing exercises that I work with people, to stimulate that parasympathetic response, is to have longer exhales, then your inhales. The heart rate drops a little bit during exhale, the heart rate variability becomes a little more resilient during the exhale and inhale. And in laughter, inherently, the exhale is going to be longer than the inhale. So it gives you like, kind of a pattern to follow, that makes it easier, in what would otherwise you know, possibly be like, a boring, get distracted activity, of just breathing. So this is a little bit more form. Yeah, this is another way that the physical act of laughter contributes to stress reduction, because the exhale is longer. So Dave, what are you curious about right now? What are you studying or working on? Wow, okay. My mom died about a month ago. And it brought me back from Vietnam, where I’ve been living nearly two years, to New York. I got to spend her last 17 days around her and a lot of my other family members. Now staying for several months to help my dad, to empty the house and sell it and get moved into a smaller place to live for him. And for the first time in, I guess, eight years or more, I’ve just noticed, that my laughter practice has lapsed. I haven’t really been laughing so much the past couple of weeks. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem. And I don’t think that would necessarily, you know, be shocking people to hear, or make me seem like a hypocrite or whatever. Like, that’s just part of what’s happened for me over the last couple of weeks. And I don’t expect to give up laughter, I expect my new practice to re-emerge. And so what I’m curious about is, what am I going to start noticing from the re-emergence of my laughter practice? I’m really interested to become aware of, not what’s been missing, but what can I noticed as it returns, or as it shows me new things that I hadn’t been able to focus on before. So I’m curious about that. Wow, That’s really… When people start to introspect and become open to experiencing from that kind of just like, perspective. And curiosity, even something, as life changing as the death of a family member can be opportunity. And I think that speaks a lot to the resilience that’s created, and being able to move between the stress response, the activation response, and the relaxation response. And you seem to be remarkably composed. And yeah, I’m sure that your laughter practice has made you more resilient, to navigate this, this time of your life, and still be curious and open to what is going to show you. It’s really just amazing, and heartening. Yeah, well, thank you. And many people cite resilience as one of the benefits of practicing intentional laughter. But one of the things that I’ve come to see, through subtractive psychology, that was initially just an intellectual thing, but became embodied understanding for me through my laughter practice, is that… two of the words that you use just in the last minute or two, curiosity and resilience. Those are both innate resources. Look at little children. They demonstrate lots and lots of curiosity, and lots and lots of resilience, and many other things, that they’re born with. Creativity, playfulness, spontineity, the capacity to learn and grow. Many, many attributes that we can observe in children, we can understand as innate. Which means that they’re inside all of us, even as adults, even if we haven’t been experiencing so much resilience lately, or so much curiosity lately, those are still qualities that we possess because we’re born with them. And it’s only our awareness that fluctuates about our access to the inner and innate resources, or birth rights is another way to think of it. Right? We have access to these birth rights, but sometimes we don’t realize. So laughter has been a way to experience a more consistently high level of awareness of what I have unconditional access to. We already talked about the difference between conditional laughter and unconditional laughter. Laughter is an innate resource. Babies laugh even before they learn to speak the language, or can intellectually make sense of what’s funny. So laughter is an innate resource, and as we explore it unconditionally, our awareness grows and builds and raises about what else we have unconditional access to from within. And that would include curiosity, and resilience, and all these other things. And I knew that intellectually from, you know, coaching training, but it was laughter that helped me know it in an embodied way. Right, oh, gosh, that’s so great. Everything we need is… kind of within us, right in front of us, at our fingertips, if we only access it. And this is a great way to, as you were talking about, being kind of a personal trainer of your inner child. And children laugh intrinsically. That’s the way we can access that childlike mind. And those other innate characteristics of curiosity and playfulness. And then you were talking about how babies smile and laugh, even before they can talk or understand what they’re doing. And that’s the mirror neurons… again, the connection between people and having like social connections, and that feeling of safety is so important to our parasympathetic system, and squashing down that chronic stress response. Yeah, well, this is why I refer to the inside out understanding and inside out laughter. We have everything we need already inside us. And that’s the direction that I point my clients to look for insight. Cool. So do you see any major developments or new things that are coming on the horizon for laughter, yoga? Anything, I don’t know what I’m thinking of… events, or festivals, or is it being incorporated into the larger zeitgeist? Yeah, I would say so. There’s a lot of people who are bringing laughter yoga, into various kinds of business settings. Business conferences, hospitals, prisons. But also, to your broader question, next year 2020 will be the 25th anniversary of the creation of laughter yoga. And also, there is a movement underway, there’s a push underway to have a moment of laughter, for world peace during the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Wow. I am looking forward to that. Oh, my goodness. I hope it happens. You know, I don’t think it’s confirmed. But like I said, there’s, there was an online petition, and then I think more that was done to try to organize that and orchestrate it. It’s not one person’s decision. There’s an Olympic Planning Committee, but I think it would be really powerful if, with millions or billions of people around the world all focused on one thing for a minute, for that one thing to be laughter, would be really powerful. Yeah, it would definitely bring awareness and a sense of connection, as we’ve been talking about, on a worldwide level. That would be incredible. Oh, my goodness. And I wanted to ask you a little bit about like, okay, where can people find you, find out more about you, anything that you’re offering, right now? Programs, how people can work with you? Tell us about that. Cool, yeah, thank you. So I am currently running a group called Think Less Laugh More. And it’s a closed, members only group on Facebook. So there’s a minimum monthly membership fee of $10 that you pay through Patreon. And of course, I have other programs and services on top of that, but that’s kind of like the entry level to get involved with having support for a daily laughter practice, and having access to some new classes twice a week, and teaching following those classes. They’re usually like 20 to 30 minute mini classes about the inside out understanding that we can learn through laughter. And Think Less Laugh More is the follow on group to what I’ve been running for three and a half years now, which is called Daily Laughers. So my website is still My big Facebook group with thousands of members in it around the world is called Daily Laughers, and that’s free to join. Daily Laughers on Facebook was launched on January 1 2016, with the idea that I’ve been laughing every day for years already, and I want to inspire other people to have a daily laughter practice. Because as you said, in the beginning, anybody who laughs every day is going to be healthier, happier, and a positive influence on people around them. This was what I saw as a pathway to a more peaceful world. So if I’m already doing it myself, no big deal, I’ll just turn the camera on every day and let people watch me laugh for a little bit. And that became something that was very difficult for me to quit. I’m going to do this every day for a year, and three and a half years later, there were 1169 videos. And I said, Okay, I need to stop making these videos every day, because I need to do some other things. But there’s this enormous archive of videos laughing, not just in different ways, and with different lessons being offered, but I’ve laughed with people from all 50 United States and 69 other countries. Now this is a global phenomenon that has allowed me to travel the world and connect with people on such a deep level. So as of right now, Daily Laughers is still open, so new people can join, but soon, I don’t have an exact date, but soon, the Facebook group is going to be archived. And that just means that all the resources will remain there and visible for people who are members of the group, but nobody new can join. It means you won’t be able to interact with the content by commenting or sharing or liking anymore, but it’ll still be there. While I direct my attention to this next level of sharing laughter with people, which to me, is about seeing it as a learning platform for deepening our inside out understanding of life. Gosh, I just encourage everyone to check out today, and connect with Dave on social media and his facebook group Daily Laughers, and definitely check out the monthly membership program group, Think Less Laugh More. And I’ll be putting all those links in the show notes. So Dave, thank you for sharing your expertise and experiences so graciously. I’m sure all the Office and Computer Professionals in our audience learned a lot about how to change their physiology through intentional laughter, and dial down that internally generated stress. And thank you all health conscious listeners in our audience for joining us for this amazing presentation. Once again, I’m Heather Lynn Darby and thank you for joining us on another “xlnt Conversation,” sponsored by xlnt Nutrition and Fitness. Visit my website,, where you can access downloadable resources on nutrition and fitness for busy professionals. Please join us to continue this conversation in the Facebook community, xlnt Vitality Experiment, where we’re exploring how to build better health and resilience from stress, one tiny habit at a time. Thank you, Dave. Thank you, Heather it’s my pleasure. Have a great day. Thank you, everyone. Have a great day.

2 thoughts on “Intentional Laughter as Exercise for Health and Self Discovery

  1. Lots of good ideas in this video! Dave Berman is terrific! Yes, let's be personal trainers of our inner child and let's laugh today!

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