One of the best physicians in the world, my yoga teacher claims, is Dr Laugh. Then there's the age-old saying that 'laughter is the best medicine'. And now it seems that there's some scientific evidence for such claims.
Laughter, it emerges, does have real health benefits.
Research reveals that laughter lowers the level of stress hormones circulating in the blood. It also fosters a positive and hopeful attitude - keeping psychological stress at bay. And the brain can't tell the difference between planned or spontaneous laughter, meaning the psychological and physiological effects are the same.
These are the broad principles underpinning Laughter Yoga, a growing worldwide movement which combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (pranayama). Denise Gibbons, Coordinator of the Brisbane Laughter Clubs, which meet regularly in public venues like New Farm Park says laughter is 'a fabulous way of expressing and releasing tension in a positive and supported environment'.
Beating the Blues with Classical Music and Laughter on Saturday 11 January is a special event organised and hosted by the Brisbane Laughter Clubs.
Gibbons said the impetus for the event was a visit to Brisbane by Jeffrey Briar from the Laughter Yoga Institute based in Laguna Beach California. 'Jeffrey not only is a specialist in Laughter Yoga but he is also a concert pianist. We wanted to put on an event using his talents and thought it would be good to also raise awareness about depression and anxiety and the wonderful work that beyondblue does in this area.'
Gibbons said music and laughter are both stress-relieving, in-the-moment and enjoyable pastimes 'so it seemed like a fabulous connection'.
Talented local artist David 'Yevi' Kabakoff will also perform on the night.
The event is designed to raise awareness for both the Brisbane Laughter Clubs and beyondblue, which is dedicated to reducing the impact of depression and anxiety on individuals, families, carers and society as a whole.
Gibbons said beyondblue was selected because of the synergy between the two organisations. People attending the event were invited to 'chase away their own blues with laughter, music and good company'.