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Can laughter change your life?

Charlotte Attwood | 16:10 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Two women are planning to set up laughter clubs in Zimbabwe believing they will help people cope with the strains of Zimbabwean life.


zimbabwelaughter.jpgThe trainers believe laughter produces genuine health benefits - emotional, physical and mental.

Laughter trainer, Ms Shah, says:

"If you laugh - you change; and when you change - the world changes" 

How does laughter change your mood?

How often do you laugh in a day? Has the ability to laugh got you though some difficult times or has it ever backfired on you? If people laughed more would it really make your country a better place? Would you like these kind of workshops in your country? Send us your views.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 5 May at 1600 GMT, please send us a telephone number to africa@bbc.co.uk. You can also send an SMS message to +44 77 86 20 20 08


  • Comment number 1.

    Directly laughter cannot change one's life but it can certainly improve the state of one's health. When you laugh you take in more useful oxygen into the body system and therefore this has revitalising or therapeutic effect on the body. You are also spared the pain of depression. I laugh easily and a lot. For this I have a very positive attitude towards life. I will even disagree with you smiling. In my early days as a young graduate, I actually worked out of an office with a smile after the manager said he wanted a beautiful lady instead of yours sincerely.I did get the posting but I still thought it was funny and I said, 'are you serious?' Laughter distributes love. It is hard to strike a laughing man. Let us hope that Iran can one day laugh with America while sharing juice with Israel!

  • Comment number 2.

    Laughter is generally supposed to be a good thing because only people at peace with themselves fully appreciate situations which can result into laughter. To me, I feel very good after a good laugh and I always allow myself to find reason to laugh as often as possible. Unfortunately, I cannot say so about all people I have come across in life. There are those with that cynical laugh which most times is a prelude to some evil deed. Such people have removed the shine from laughter.

  • Comment number 3.

    Obviously yes!Laughter is a good panacea for healthy living and in the company of others an antidote to boredom.People that makes laugher a character traits in their lifestyle often are free from wrinkles, worries and vicissitudes of life.More so, they lived longer.

    Victor Hugo depicts;"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from human face",and E.E.Cummings once said that.."The most wasted of all day is one without laughter".Indeed if people laughed more it will really make my country a better place and I encourage such workshops.

  • Comment number 4.

    My Bible tells me that laughter is synonymous to medicine.This is because one's state of health can get a lot better if he or she laughs often.Laughter making the country better?That will only happen, may be in the yet-to occupy MARS. If citizens accept the idea that things can change considerably from bad to good because of how much they laugh,then they're to be pitied.Sometimes people laugh just to conceal their treacherous act from those around.How then can a Nation get better with such people around even though they laugh with you?
    Generally,laughter is a good thing that God made for we all to use in lightning the day to day burdens of our hearts.

  • Comment number 5.

    Laughter can only change your life when you are in health state but it is very difficult to tell some one to laugh for no reason .
    I would say , for such workshops to be active in Zimbabwe and the whole Africa , we need Africa to be a better place to live in .for example ,can you take such workshops to a country like Somalia where people are dying day ,night and it works now?.

    it is good to laugh but laughter comes automatically, it can not be forced.


  • Comment number 6.

    It is nice to laugh when necessary. i cannot laugh becuase i want to. But what is good about laughing is the fact that you ease tention, that makes it necessary to laugh sometimes. when i laugh my friends will definitely know that i am happy. however, others laugh because they want to provote a situation or someone else. such laughter will create danger and sometime causes enemity. But that notwithstanding it's good to laugh. Please don't laugh to irritate others.

  • Comment number 7.

    I believe the genuine laughter is the one that comes because people are happy with the way things are, and not the other way round! You cannot start laughing in order to make things go in your favour or better the economic status of the community. Unless there are other health benefits of laughing, this will be an effort in futility! Can these women find other ways of turning things into the favour of the Zimbabwean majority.

  • Comment number 8.

    Laughter is a different thing from happiness,I prefer smile to Laughter because smile is from your inner person and it occurs naturally but an event must occur before a layghter comes otherwise its madness.

  • Comment number 9.

    The idea of setting up laughter clubs doesn’t really appeal to me. I agree that we all need to crack up sometimes to release our daily stress, but having to go to a club just to laugh collectively with other people may seem a little odd. What if a bereaved person went to a laughter club to laugh, but remembered a dead family member and started sobbing instead? Would the other club attendants kick him out or stop laughing and sympathize with him? Kicking him out would be callous and inhumane, and stopping laughing to sympathize would defeat the purpose of the laughter club.

  • Comment number 10.

    Laughter changes mood just for a little shortest of time.

  • Comment number 11.

    Laughter is good however, it requires a positive viewpoint of all issues for it therapeutic effect to take course. So please live your life in full because we are already in heaven. Let no one lie to you that the world is coming to an end.

  • Comment number 12.

    Well,there is nothing funny about conditions blighted by poverty, poltical repression and unemployment. Yes, people adopt to these sort of unfortunate situations but I just do not understand where laughter comes into it. To me, it is rather a sign of accepting these conditions rather than fight it. Also, what is the idea of running an office where you invite people suffering from all sort of things and ask or them to laugh-It just is not natural. Human beings laugh when their belly is full, roof on their head, jobs to go to and friends and family around not because they are told to do so.

  • Comment number 13.

    I KNOW that laughter can change my mood. I have been practicing Laughter Yoga for over 7 years now and I can feel the difference in my body as well as in my mood instantly.

    I can see that whenever people are laughing together, they stop arguing, they stop fighting and they have a more peaceful attitude towards each other. If laughter can help achieve world peace? You bet! When I laugh, I change for a better me... and when I change, the world around me change also!

    More laughing, less hating...

    I know it helps me to face challenging situations without feeling completely depressed or angry. I am more tolerant and open to others. I forgive (myself and others) more easily and my life is more happy in general.

    Just do it! Laugh! For the health of it!
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 14.

    Laughter not only can change lives, it can save them as well. I am living proof of that. I owe my life and current state of happiness to Madan Kataria who introduced me to laughter yoga in 2005. I can't say I was particularly willing nor convinced of its power, but at that time, I was laughing with a group of breast cancer survivors twice a week. Over a period of about a year and a half, without any pre-conceived intention, my suicide plans vanished into thin air. Drugs and psychiatrists had been unsuccessful, but as it turned out, laughter was the BEST medicine!

    I am a registered nurse, a skeptic, always overly analytical, but what I have at last come to realize after 40 years in nursing, all that God has so freely provided is, after all, the best medicine for our minds, bodies, and spirits. Whether the food we put into our bodies or the laughter we infuse into our souls, the good Father always seems to know best. Science simply cannot out-smart Him.

    Laughter not only saved me from taking my own life, but it also gave me a peace I cannot explain while simultaneously opening my heart and soul to all mankind.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think the majority of people who will manage to find time to attend laugh workshops will gain the benefits associated with laughter. Unfortuentely in Zimbabwe, people who need these workshops more are too busy trying to find the most basic need of all, food. Although zimbabwe is currently importing most of the food products, money to buy that food is very scarce, considering unemployment is at tripe figure percentages.
    There is lots of basic needs that our people need, laughter is the least focus considering it is meant to come naturally. And I just pray that the world does not continue to look aside, while we are laughing.

  • Comment number 16.


    I think that laughter has a positive side-effects on your life, specially when you are upset about a problem...


  • Comment number 17.

    I totally agree that laughter really is the best medicine.

    I'm from the UK but I spent 2 years in a dismal South African homeless shelter, 1 year in the dangerous townships and 30 days in a repatriation centre with Zimbabweans and others being deported.

    I finally returned home with Lung Damage,Tuberculosis and Deaf in both ears due to the unsanitary living conditions.

    It was the humour of the Afrikkanners, Zulus, Zimbabweans, Mozambiquens and Scots that I met that kept me from going insane or doing something stupid.

    You cannot put a price on the stress relief that a good belly laugh provides.
    No matter how desperate your situation appears, the temporary release somehow helps to keep you going.

  • Comment number 18.

    Zimbabweans generally are very resiliant people who have soldiered a lot of political and economic hardships with a smile and laughter - I would know as a Zim. To create a 'laughing club' and hope to change the world is non progressive and deviates from reality. It sounds just another innovative idea in desperate times. The future generations will not be laughing at such complacency come on - Zims have a task at hand they can do it without being scammed in this manner!

  • Comment number 19.

    any little thing in life can change your life to be more positive or the opposite and vis a vis.


  • Comment number 20.


  • Comment number 21.

    A good thing for people to laugh, but not sure of the motive of doing this in Zimbabwe were people are suffering due to extreme poverty. I just hope the service is free as this was not mentioned. Laughing is also good for those with money and the wealthy as they can be very miserable than the poor people. So this is a universal thing and not just for the poor, The only problem is that it can make people think its good to be poor as happiness is more than just having money or being poor.

  • Comment number 22.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 23.

    Laughter is a thing human need to survive. Living in the world now is very hard and stressful. That is why we need laughter to keep alive. When we laugh, we just think that it makes us feel better and happy, but we cannot feel how laughter effects work in our body.If you are too busied by your works and you cannot do any sports, laughing is the best sport for you. The physiological benefits of laughter are: it can strengthen your immune system, enhance your cardiovascular flexibility, replenish your creative juices, develop abdominal muscles of steel, etc. Psychologically, laughter can make us think more clearly and increase our intellectual performance and information retention. It can also release and transform our emotional pain. Further, it can balance the chemistry of our stress and tension.Spiritually, laughter can increase our spirit quotient. It can also make us experience a deep connection with other human beings because sometimes, the will of having somebody to share laugh and happiness is bigger than the will to have them when we are sad. By sharing laughter, our happiness will be doubled. Having no one to share laughter is more tragic than having no one to share sadness. This sentence is totally true. Laughter can really change your life. So, why do not you share laughter right now? And feel how you will be physically, physiologically, and spiritually healthy. Your mind will also be brighter so you can have a brighter view of life just by having the cheapest medicine: laughter.



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