Friday, March 30, 2007

TO WRITE: Could a "Laughter Club" Beat Out Prozac?
Is it hard to laugh when you're depressed? Well, consider doing it in a group. That old saw about laughter being the best medicine is being enthusiastically applied in Shanghai. China Daily reported that this month faculty members at Fudan University began inviting students to "laugh away their cares and concerns" by joining the Heartfelt Laughing Club.

Members, inspired by observations that laughter is powerful - and contagious - typically meet in parks early in the morning. They raise their arms high and begin laughing loudly, then silently with mouth closed, then open, in an effort to ease everyday stresses. Sometimes the laughter is combined with yoga and meditation. Chinese psychologists leading the Fudan group discovered that others follow the humor-filled practice too: There are more than 80 laughter clubs in India, and several thousand around the world!

Do you think they could be on to something?

Play with this ...
Even if it's been a while since you've giggled much, recall some times you have. Did you laugh yourself silly at Bugs Bunny as a kid? Or was it that time you and friends played a prank on a teacher? For me, watching Monty Python or Saturday Night Live with my gang of pals in high school comes to mind.

Write the story of a funny - no, hilarious - thing you once laughed at. How did it start, how did you react, did you feel different afterward? Are similar events still amusing to you now, or have your tastes changed? And what might make you laugh today - could you rent a video, play with the dog, rehash a family mishap with your sister? As usual, give yourself 20 minutes to write continuously about the laughter in your life. And leave a comment to let us know what works for you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article!
For the record there are over 150 different Laughter Clubs in Mumbai (India) alone, each with 50 to 250 daily members. Indian Laughter Clubs meet daily in public parks. An estimated 250,000 people laugh daily as a form of exercise in India alone. There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage on this Indian Laughter Clubs "social phenomenon" (the last one was a few days ago on CBS nationwide ( The most comprehensive resource online today is