Get Your Jolly On Jan. 24 for Global Belly Laugh Day
Laughing is definitely the best medicine and if you love to laugh (and if you’re the cranky type, maybe you should try laughing once in a while) get your jolly on Jan. 24, at 1:24 p.m. local time for Global Belly Laugh Day.
Participating is pretty simple, just smile, throw your arms in the air and laugh out loud with a hearty belly laugh. Not a giggle but a from-the-gut bellow.
I’ll be in Sarasota getting my laugh on and Global Belly Laugh Day Founder Elaine Helle will be in Portland, Ore. Where will you be?
So why January 24? When I interviewed Elaine, who’s a certified laughter yoga teacher, several years ago she told me the numbers “1” and “24” have been associated with happy things, which is why she designated January 24 as Global Belly Laugh Day. My youngest sister was born on Jan. 24 and she is one of the most positive, happiest people I know. Maybe there really is a connection between “1”, “24” and a good ole’ belly laugh.
Laugh often and much!
Below is my interview with Belly Laugh Day Founder Elaine Helle. This interview initially appeared on Yahoo! Voices in 2007.
Belly Laugh Day is more than just sharing knock-knock jokes or playing tricks on your co-workers. It actually has very little to do with comedy. According to Belly Laugh Day Bellman Elaine Helle (she prefers “bellman” over “founder”), it’s more about celebrating with “the people in your life past and present, who laugh with you and help you laugh and smile.” It’s also about “celebrating the laughs and smiles that transform our moments” and remembering “the strange, funny, ‘now I can laugh at it’ moments.”
This 21st century holiday was first celebrated in 2006 when Helle, a certified laughter yoga teacher, decided a day was needed to celebrate “the great gift of laughter.” After all, “we celebrate love, give thanks and recognize flossing ([the] day after Thanksgiving USA).” January 24 became the selected date.
How can people celebrate Belly Laugh Day together? At 1:24 p.m. local time (the time is intentional, it mirrors the date of 1/24), the Belly Laugh Bounce ‘Round the World begins. This is when everyone is invited to “throw up their arms in the air and laugh out loud.” As Helle points out, “well almost [everyone] – not pilots and surgeons.” The Belly Laugh Bounce begins in Fiji and rolls over seven continents, ending in Alaska. This is an easy, simple activity everyone can join in.
Helle told me, “the Belly Laugh Bounce ‘Round the World stems from [the] celebration of the year 2000. On December 31, 1999 we set up a world map and hit a gong each time the year 2000 dawned in a new time zone. We had a game marker to mark the progress across the world.”
And how do you get those not-so-happy people in the mood to celebrate Belly Laugh Day? Helle suggests smiling at them. She points out the research supporting the old adage about smiling being contagious, referencing an article in Science Daily called “Laugh And The Whole World Laughs With You: Why The Brain Just Can’t Help Itself.” Dr. Sophie Scott is quoted as saying, “We usually encounter positive emotions, such as laughter or cheering, in group situations. When we see a person smiling and laughing our brain is primed to mirror the behaviour of the smiling and laughing person.”
Helle also encourages talking about the holiday. “Even curmudgeons smile when they read the name ‘Belly Laugh Day.'”
Belly Laugh Day’s website (www.bellylaughday.com) is complete with laughter research, activities to get and keep the laughter going and a downloadable flyer to distribute and spread the word about the holiday.
“The symbol for Belly Laugh Day is a smiling sun with seven rays,” Helle said.
We have all been given the gift of laughter and Belly Laugh Day is a time to celebrate that gift. Helle wants everyone to remember the power of laughter. It helps “us connect with each other, change our mood and energy, become more creative and innovative. Importantly, it “boosts joy and happiness.”