Melbourne's Federation Square resounded with laughter as families and friends met together to laugh in celebration of World Laughter Day on Sunday May 6.
Laughter Clubs Victoria held "Laugh for Leukaemia" in a partnership with the Leukaemia Foundation and Federation Square. The Laughter Clubs of Victoria is made up of around 30 community laughter clubs. The aim of each club is to get together for a session and laugh for no reason, without having to resort to jokes or humour. The sessions last about half an hour and are mostly held outdoors. They operate according to the rules established by Dr Madan Kataria, who founded the global laughter movement 12 years ago with one club — there are now over 5000 clubs worldwide.
Everyone can experience first-hand the fun of a laughter session. Yes, your body knows how to laugh so you can enjoy the activity and allow the laughter to flow. A smile on your face and a regular bout of laughter is one of the fastest ways to a happier healthier life, as demonstrated by Mahes Karuppiah, the winner of the ladies laugh in the "best laugh" competition.
"I went to India in 1999 and got trained with Dr Maadan Kataria himself, and since then I have not stopped laughing — I got infected and I must say this is one infection that I am happily passing around. I do have my down days, so I fake a smile...the joy juices start flowing and the chemistry changes and you feel good. It is as simple as that," Ms Karuppiah told The Epoch Times.
"Why do I laugh? It is the most wonderful and the most delightful and the most highly prized of all human experiences. And that is why [I laugh]."
The General Manager of the Leukaemia Foundation, Ian McDonald, and Phillipa Challis, the founder of Laughter Clubs Victoria, spoke about the event and its significance and how it helps people.
Ms Challis said: "Physically, it is a complete aerobics workout; its helping you when you do your laughter to have an oxygen exchange, for the blood to circulate and release those hormones and in particular that beautiful little endorphine...that happy little hormone, the well-being hormone, and when that happens then we know that people are going to think better, be more creative and it builds stronger bones."
Ms Challis runs many workshops and corporate events. She recalls a workshop she held for crimes perpetrated against women and who had unfortunately been in a situation of violence. One woman came out crying and told Ms Challis: "I was raped three years ago and for the first time I laughed, so it helps emotionally."
Similar sentiments about the healing affects laughter has was shared by Mr McDonald: "What today means to us is that it gives us a new era, addressing the needs of our patients, because laughter is going to help to a greater degree...now we have a more formal arrangement with the laughter clubs of Victoria...today's inaugural event will help that."
At the close of the event, the last laugh remained with the laughers. As that famous quote says: "Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone."