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← Happier in 5 minutes | Ida Abdalkhani | TEDxOhioStateUniversity

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  1. An astonishing 83% of Americans
    are stressed about their jobs,
  2. and about one in two of us
    struggle to stay happy.
  3. In fact, I'm one of them.
  4. What about you?
  5. I'm here to help you with that today
  6. by teaching you one thing
    and one thing only:
  7. how to laugh for no reason at all.
  8. (Laughter)
  9. Why?
  10. Because when we laugh,
  11. our bodies release a flood of chemicals
    and positive neurotransmitters
  12. that stimulate our brains,
  13. our immune system,
    and our nervous systems.
  14. In fact, when we laugh,
    our blood flow increases by about 50%.
  15. That's how we get the rosy cheeks.
  16. And laughing can actually burn calories.
  17. If you were to laugh
    for about 15 minutes a day,
  18. everyday of the year,
  19. you can lose up to five pounds.
  20. All of these benefits intrigued me
    about laughter yoga,
  21. but I still had no idea what to expect
    when I went to my first class.
  22. The instructor started
    by giving us background
  23. on how laughter yoga was started
    in 1995 by a doctor in India.
  24. He found that our bodies and minds
    can't discern the differences
  25. between fake and real laughter.
  26. So we don't need a comedian,
    and we don't need a catalyst
  27. to reap the real benefits of laughter.
  28. So I said, "Sign me up."
  29. And so we started.
  30. We warmed up
    with pranayama yogic breathing,
  31. and then things started
    to get uncomfortable.
  32. I had to laugh for no reason.
  33. The instructor could sense my nervousness
  34. so she looked at me, and she said,
    "Ida, fake it till you make it."
  35. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
  36. ((Laughter)
  37. Awkward.
  38. But it worked.
  39. It took the pressure off.
  40. It showed me that I shouldn't worry
  41. about what other people think
    or how it felt.
  42. The endgame is a healthy life.
  43. I had to believe
    that I deserve to be happy,
  44. and I deserve to laugh.
  45. And so do you.
  46. So that's what we're going to do today:
    fake it till we make it.
  47. We're going to laugh for no reason at all
  48. because science tells us
    that within 45 to 90 seconds,
  49. your body will start to release
    that flood of positive neurotransmitters,
  50. and within about two minutes,
    fake laughter becomes real.
  51. So here we go.
  52. Who's ready to laugh?
  53. (Applause)
  54. Alright. I need everyone to stand up.
  55. Get the blood flowing.
  56. OK.
  57. There are two primary techniques
    to laughter yoga:
  58. the first is breathing.
  59. The focus is on filling up our diaphragm
  60. increasing our amount of oxygen
  61. and helping our blood flow.
  62. The second is, of course, laughter.
  63. The focus here is on deep belly laughter.
  64. This increases the circulation
    of our lymphatic systems
  65. and it jump-starts our immune systems.
  66. OK, so to warm up, I want everyone
    to take a deep breath in,
  67. raise your hands towards the ceiling,
  68. and I want you to let your breath out
    with an audible "Hwoo."
  69. I want you to push it out. Ready? Go!
  70. Ida Abdalkhani: Hwoo!
    (Audience) Hwoo!
  71. IA: Nice job. OK. One more time.
  72. Deep breath in, fill up your lungs.
  73. This time you're going to laugh
    on your exhale. Ready? Go!
  74. (Audience) & IA: Hahahahaha.
  75. One more time, deep breath in,
    fill up your lungs.
  76. From the bottom of your belly, let it out!
  77. Hahahahahahahahaha!
  78. Nice job. OK.
  79. Now we are warmed up.
  80. For our first laughter yoga exercise,
  81. we're going to do something called
    "cell phone laughter."
  82. Speaking on our cell phones
    is something we do everyday,
  83. but today we're going to make it more fun.
  84. I want you to pretend that you just heard
    the funniest story in the world.
  85. Get out your fake cell phones.
  86. There's no right or wrong way to do this.
  87. Just have fun with it.
    Take a deep breath in and laugh.
  88. (Audience) and IA: Hahahahahaha!
  89. IA: Somebody is hearing
    some really funny stories
  90. up here, up front; it's good stuff.
  91. For our second laughter yoga exercise,
  92. we're going to do one of my favorites,
    "Shaking-hands laughter."
  93. Shaking hands is something
    that we do everyday,
  94. and it helps us connect with others.
  95. But today, we're going to amplify it
    and connect with laughter as well.
  96. I want you to shake hands
    with those around you.
  97. But you're going to look them in the face,
    and you're going to laugh.
  98. Ready? Deep breath in and laugh.
  99. Hahahahaha!
  100. High five!
  101. Hahahahahahaha!
  102. (Applause)
  103. Thank you.
  104. I can tell you guys are getting
    the hang of it, this is great.
  105. For our last exercise,
  106. I'm actually going to have you guys
    decide what we laugh about.
  107. I want you to take a moment
  108. and reflect about something that has been
    stressing you out the past few days.
  109. We're going to take that,
  110. and we're going to use it
    as a way to remind ourselves
  111. that we can't always change
    the outcomes in life,
  112. but we can change how we react to them.
  113. So what's something that's been
    stressing you guys out lately?
  114. Go ahead. Yell it out.
  115. (Indistinct comments from the audience)
  116. IA: You all are stressed
    about a lot of stuff,
  117. but I heard cell phone bills
    a few times, so let's use that.
  118. I want you to pull out
    your outrageous cell phone bill
  119. with all its crazy roaming
    charges and overages.
  120. We're going to take a minute
    to remind ourselves
  121. that while we can't change the outcome
    of that crazy cell phone bill,
  122. we can forgive ourselves,
  123. we can laugh for a moment,
  124. and we can have fun with it.
  125. So deep breath in.
    And laugh at your cellphone bill.
  126. Hahahahahaha!
  127. (Applause)
  128. Thank you.
  129. I don't know if you realized it or not,
  130. but you just laughed for about 5 minutes,
  131. and I didn't tell you a single joke.
  132. We actually laugh
    about 300 times a day as children,
  133. but only 30 as adults.
  134. I hope this has shown you how easy it is
    to bring laughter back into your life
  135. to feel lighter and happier,
  136. and to laugh.
  137. It's within your power
    to make your narrative a joyful one.
  138. You decide.
  139. Thank you.
  140. (Applause)
  141. (Cheers)