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By Andrea Callan on

How to hack your happiness

The secret to happiness is all in your head. Find out how to boost your happy chemicals with the theory and practise at Morning Gloryville…

hack [/hæk/]

(v.) “If someone hacks into a computer system, they break into the system, especially in order to get secret information.” (Collins English Dictionary)

Who doesn’t like finding a shortcut to good stuff that’s otherwise difficult to attain? The term has evolved from breaking in to computer systems to the concept of ‘hackathons’, an approach where groups of people come together to tackle a problem, focusing in intense periods of time to create innovative solutions.

Often with a digital focus, hacks are being utilised for a range of projects, with the 24-hour(!) Hack Manchester at the Museum of Science of Industry, to the Homeless Hack, Junior Hack and even a Budget Hack to mention just a few from Manchester this year.

But what about hacking your own happiness? That’s where Robin Graham and his laughter yoga can help:

“Laughter is a language and it’s one that we all speak. On a physiological level, laughing releases endorphins, or happy chemicals. These relieve stress and when we relieve stress we can function better… Even if you are only pretending to laugh, if you make eye contact with another person, real laughter will follow.”

Robin uses laughter yoga group exercises to disrupt bad thinking habits, chuckling away day-to-day worries and stress to boost relaxation. His sessions combine silliness, science and a slight element of fear, as going outside of your comfort zone may very well be part of the experience. Based on the principle that the body responds to a fake laugh in the same way it does a genuine one, once you start to laugh with Robin’s exercises it’s surprising how quickly genuine, joyful laughter follows. As well as feelings of connection with fellow gigglers. Just take a look at this footage of Robin’s laughter yoga workshop at Gorton Monastery on World Laughter Day earlier this year, and see how you feel just watching through a screen:

Robin will be sharing the joy of laughter and the scientific theory behind how it impacts on the body and mind at Morning Gloryville’s Science of Happiness party in partnership with Manchester Science Festival. The sober, early morning rave has a range of activities for early birds to enjoy, from healthy, mood-boosting vegan breakfasts and juices, stretching and warming up with yoga, energising massage, a banging dancefloor and lots more—all before the working day starts.

In a recent Huffington Post article examining whether ‘Morning raving [could] be the antidote to loneliness’, Joe Verghese, MD, a professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine said:

“The ample flow of mood-improving chemicals that dancing releases means that raising the roof can elevate your mental state. Getting jiggy with others also leads to less stress and stronger social bonds, key factors in both mental and physical health. The more time you spend on the dance floor, the more you train your brain to open those feel-good floodgates—and the more you’ll start to amp up your overall well-being.”

So it seems the trick to happiness really is all in your head! The Science of Happiness party takes place on Wednesday 25 October, from 6.30 to 10.30 at the Wonder Inn. Suitable for all ages.

More information can be found on both the Manchester Science Festival and Morning Gloryville websites.

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