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Dharma Connect: Is Laughter the Best Meditation?

"No time to just sit and breathe? Then at least pull up a quick YouTube video of “goats yelling like humans”—a good laugh now and then may give you a mental boost similar to meditation, suggests new research."

That's how Time reports on a new study that found that joyful laughter produces the same brain waves as meditation.

Researchers at Loma Linda University measured the brain waves of subjects while they watched videos. Funny videos produced the gamma waves, the same as those produced during meditation.

“Gamma is the only frequency that affects every part of the brain,” says Lee Berk, lead researcher of the study and associate professor of pathology and human anatomy at Loma Linda University. “So when you’re laughing, you’re essentially engaging your entire brain at once. This state of your entire brain being ‘in synch’ is associated with contentment, being able to think more clearly, and improved focus."

And the more you laugh, the more you should notice these perks. “It’s similar to the way regular exercise reconditions and reprograms your body over time,” says Berk. “With regular laughter, you’re optimizing your brain’s response to this experience.”

The problem with using laughter to retrain your brain is that it's short-lived and unpredictable.  It's a brief hit of synchronizing your mind and body, a great release. But true laughter isn't something you can plan.

Meditation, on the other hand, is something you can plan to do and can do for sustained periods. Regular meditation is like going to the gym regularly and building muscles, changing how your body looks and what it's capable of doing. It's sustainable.

Of course, you could meditate and look for ways to experience joyful laughter. Here's some goats yelling like people:

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