By: Andrea Callan
Hack, verb – ‘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 into 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 Musuem 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 to hack your own happiness? That’s where Robin Graham and his laughter yoga can help. Robin described the approach to The Guardian as:
“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 scary 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 Robins 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 Manchesters Science of Happiness party, in partnership with Manchester Science Festival.
Another element of happiness hacking comes from from international engineering and design experts, BuroHarrold who will be sharing their experience on how to design homes and workplaces for high wellbeing. As part of rising interest in happiness and wellbeing, BuroHappold work with housing developers, local authorities and national governments, to translate the science of wellbeing into happy buildings and cities. So our early morning ravers will get to experience a whistle-stop tour of the science of wellbeing with engineering insights, followed by tips for how we can impact our homes and workplaces.
And the science doesn’t stop there! In a recent Huffington Post article asking whether ‘Morning raving [could] be the antidote to loneliness’, Joe Verghese, M.D., 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.”
We like these vibes! You can see how Morning Gloryville Manchester crank up their cuddle chemicals here:
‘The Science of Happiness’ party takes place on Wednesday 25th October, from 6:30 to 10:30am at arts wellness centre, The Wonder Inn in Manchester. Suitable for all ages.