One of the joys for my job is the seemingly random people I sometimes meet. I got chatting to this nattily dressed Ethiopian gentleman at WTM simply because I liked his suit. He then told me he holds the world record for laughing – three and six minutes non-stop! That must surely send you hysterical in the original meaning of the world.
Belachew Girma, officially known as “World Laugher Master”, is a professional laugher therapist and founded the first laughter school in Africa. He works mainly with orphaned children harnessing laughter’s healing properties, which he is personally aware of having suffered a fair bit of tragedy in his life himself. He goes anywhere there is need though and in 2008, travelled to England to cheer Brits up! He went to Walsall, said to be the grumpiest place in the country to give them a dose of laugher therapy. You can watch the 3-minute film Channel 4 made here:
If you don’t start laughing at some point, check your pulse.
The 10th annual Ethiopian Laughter Day kicks off today and runs until 16 December, attracting thousands to join in laughing sessions. His company, based in Addis Ababa, offers laughter holidays including laughter workshops, tours, shows etc.
In Belachew’s words, why Laughter Day is needed:
The objectives for laughing together is to build up social harmony, bondage, promote health, positive thinking, team spirit, happiness, growth, productivity and interconnection. Laughing together brings happiness, warmth, unconditional love, bonding, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, and compassion. It is non religious, non-racial and boundless!
When I visited Mumbai, I heard about laughter yoga though I never got the chance to try it myself. Have you heard about laughter therapy? Would you go on a laughing holiday?