Media 2020-02-20T06:04:32+00:00

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Common Media Questions And Their Answers

Top 10 Questions Journalists Ask Sebastian

1. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

I am a public speaker, mentor, and trainer, creator of the Laughter Wellness method. As an expert in laughter and wellness, I help professionals and entrepreneurs in a variety of fields activate and leverage their laughter circuitry to go from stressed to strong, stuck to smiling, and emotionally sore to soaring. But what I am most passionate about is moving the world to wellness and help people live happier, healthier and more productive lives.

2. What exactly is Laughter Wellness, and how does it work?

Put simply, Laughter Wellness is a powerful and systemized delivery system for the science of laughter that all can use and benefit from. It requires no special equipment, environment or clothing, and it’s a fun and refreshing – rather than tedious – approach to wellness and wellbeing because it helps to very quickly shift energies up, at home and at work.

The way it works is a fun, fluid, and very effective combinations of the 5 M’s. We rely primarily on various approaches to Mirth that promote cheerfulness (e.g., intentional laughter, vertical humor, games, dancing, singing, and more), but we also use:

  • Empowering Movements: it’s like exercising without knowing that you are.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation.
  • Manifestation techniques.
3. When did Laughter Wellness begin? When and how did you learn about it? How did you get into this line of work?

20 years ago I was a very successful and very miserable corporate Jedi. My life was completely incoherent with my core values and I made myself sick in perfectly healthy environment. I did that by giving myself not one but two stress-related burnouts to motivate myself to change career. It eventually worked. 15 years ago I discovered the world of laughter on my healing journey and it was the single most fun, healing, and rewarding thing I had ever done up to that point. I soon learned that there was a lot of science to this and made it right away my full time occupation. I then spent years practicing and studying to deepen and refine my understanding and expertise. In time I accrued so much knowledge and experience that I created the Laughter Wellness method. This was  in 2010, and that’s what I have been actively teaching ever since.

4. Why do you say that laughter matters? What are the benefits on the body, mind, and spirit?

Where to begin? Please explore http://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/benefits-of-laughter. For me the most relevant benefits of laughter at the beginning were that:

  • Laughter is the #1 enemy of stress and a healthy way to naturally create our daily D.O.S.E. of wellbeing (by DOSE I mean dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins – the main hormones of happiness.)
  • It’s is an easy and effective way to build group identity, solidarity, and cohesiveness. As we all know “people who laugh together, stay together.“
  • Used well, it’s also an effective way to strengthen our immune functions and improve our natural defenses against illness, and there was so much more still!
5. How is Laughter Wellness different?

All approaches to laughter have value. The difference comes from what serves you best at a particular point in time. Laughter Wellness is the logical next step for many because it’s a complete, ready-to-use, systemized, and professional delivery system for the science of laughter. It requires no special equipment, environment or clothing, and it’s a fun – rather than tedious – way to enhance one’s daily wellbeing. For me it’s been the X factor that I spent so many years looking for. Who would want to buy a new car in parts to put it together? What you want is a complete package that works straight out of the box, and that’s what Laughter Wellness is and does, and that’s why professionals love it.

6. Why do people need to laugh?

Nobody needs to laugh. If you want to feel sad, angry, or stressed this would be very counter-productive. What we need to understand, is that what we really want is not what we say but rather what we do.  For me therefore the question is more “What do you have to lose from not infusing your life with the energy of laughter?” By “energy of laughter” I mean authenticity, enthusiasm, ingenuity, curiosity, trust in people and faith in life. When did you last truly laughed and why did it stop there and then? I encourage you to learn about about a concept called the inner locus of control.

7. Where is Laughter Wellness practiced? Is it more widely spread in the US, or in other countries?

Laughter Wellness is predominantly used in the Americas, Western Europe, and the pacific region (Australia/New Zealand), but there are other geographical pockets here and there. This being said and for historical reasons, up to now it has very often been used as a white-label.

8. What kind of reactions do you get from people who try this for the first time? How long does one typically have to practice Laughter Wellness before they start to report results? Are those short term or long term?
  • How do people react the first time they try something truly wonderful and healthy? Invariably they all say the same thing: This is truly wonderful and healthy…
    • To be more specific participants always first feel both relaxed and energized, and that’s because they’ve just flushed their body and brain with more oxygen.
    • Next they realize that any pain they had before their laughter experience either vanished or is now significantly reduced. Next they realize that they feel really good. That’s because of the DOSE (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphin) that their body just naturally produced.
    • Next the realize that they are much more present and therefore much less stressed or anxious.
    • Next they realize that they feel much more connected with the people around them, even though all they have done was laughed and engaged in a variety of uplifting and life-affirming mostly non-verbal activities with them.
    • …and over time if they keep coming back they realize that they are much less sick, if at all. They become much happier and less prone to stress, and much more confident in themselves. And that’s just the beginning.
  • To the question “how long does it take”, the answer is that it’s the same with everything. First, let’s agree that nature does not do anything of quality at microwave speed. Second, if you want to enjoy the view you first need to climb the mountain. Marked life changes appear within 3 to 6 months of regular practice.
9. How much does it cost?

Let’s put it this way: It’s a lot cheaper to get your teeth cleaned twice a year than to undergo root canal work—and a lot less painful.

10. Why should people do this now?

Again, from my perspective the benefits are so numerous and experientially evident that I see this question the other way around: What is stopping people from integrating what Laughter Wellness teaches into their life now? What are they afraid to loose?

21 Miscellaneous Formal Questions

1. It feels odd to laugh just like that, you often say it to the audience to. How to stop judging ourselves and just laugh?

The way I see it, the question is more “what do we have to lose by engaging in such a beneficial activity?”
The answer, possibly, is that it’s really hard to both maintain the idea that you are not good enough or should be afraid of others AND engage in a behavior that’s in fact affirming the exact opposite.
“How” you get people to do that easily is a skillset that you acquire with training.
My best answer to you for this for now is “take a leap of faith”, and gives this a genuine honest try for at least 10 minutes, and best if possible with someone else.

2. I had a chance to be part of ayahuasca ritual in Brazil. Then I read that scientifically, visions that you experience afterwords are perceived by your brain in the same way as reality, that is why they have a transformative power. I assume the same thing applies to laugher? Could you develop on that?

What is real and what isn’t? Everything we see and experience is a point of view.
The Dalai Lama says I believe that there is no such on earth as a situation that is bad from every single point of view.
My personal belief – and therefore mon only experience – is that nobody is broken and there is nothing to fix.
The type of laughter I’m into is a pattern interrupt because it forces you out of head space – thinking and judging – into heart space, a feeling beyond argument that “I am whole and complete, and I am safe here, now”
Resistance is what creates problems. My kind of laughter is all about acceptance, flow, and action. What you really want is what you do, not what you say you want.

3. How does laughter work from neurobiological point of view?

Click here for general information on that topic. Overall, the science on this is young and much remains to be studied, and on the basis that it’s easy to argue with it I’d rather not get into details that would be a distraction anyway.

What 1,000s of studies have shown for decades on 6 continents is that laughter is a valid and beneficial form of complementary lifestyle medicine that complements other established healing modalities. On that basis the science of laughter is very strong and very old. But let’s be practical here. Name me a condition that would not benefit from a safe, uplifting and life affirming energy.

4. You mentioned that thoughts are electrochemical… and that 80% of how we feel depends on our body not thoughts. I would like us to talk about it – because in Western world we are in our heads A LOT.

The fact that we’ve done something for 1,000s of years or a long time does not necessarily mean it’s a good thing.
Also, this is not a personal opinion that’s open for debate. It’s merely an observation that’s extremely valuable from a practical and clinician perspective.

5. I like what you say: I choose to laugh. But do we really always have this option? What are situations you wouldn’t laugh at? Or especially difficult to laugh about?

Read more on the locus of control.
Nobody is a victim, and yes we always have a choice.
At the end of the day nothing is right and nothing is wrong. All there is, is what serves you best, or not, in being who you are or want to become.

6. You say our world does not leave much space to laughter. Why is that?

Fear and seriousness are joy killers. Remove both and what you find is expansion, joy, love and of course laughter.

7. Are there any places in the world where laughter is treated more seriously?

I think we’re level everywhere, meaning that everybody everywhere agrees that laughter feels good.
The challenge we have is that, because there is no “scientifically proven” protocol (Laughter Yoga is a common term that means very different things to different people, which in turns manifests in very different forms of delivery) public organizations remain resistant in taking this kind of activity onboard. I say this is just a matter of time and I and many others worldwide are working to change that.

8. What are the benefits of laughter? Can you prove what you say?

See my earlier answer to your question “How does laughter work from neurobiological point of view?
Overall iff someone is not convinced now that laughter is really good for you I don’t see the point in trying to convince them otherwise. Their world to them, mine to me and I really like mine. I’d rather focus on the people who are willing to experience it for themselves rather than argue with the former who are often intent on proving that I’m wrong and they are right. The benefits of what I do are experientially evident and quantifiable.

9. You say we can laugh when we are sad. How is that possible? Is it possible for a person who lost a loved person, husband, maybe child, to really laugh again? When? How to achieve that? (examples)

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m simply saying it’s worth it.
Do you chose to focus on what you’ve lost, or all that you’ve had with deceased loved ones? They could not have been born at all. Then what?
What if death was the best thing that could happen to us all? (I’m not saying it is, but what if it was?)
Do you really think your deceased loved ones want you to be sad and depressed forever?
There is of course a time to laugh and a time to cry, and laughter will invariably lead you to tears, but those are tears of liberation.
The more you fight with death, the more anxiety-ridden you will become. What comes after winter, every year, since the dawn of time? The answer of course is spring. Learn to accept what you cannot change rather than resist it.

10. In one of your TEDx talks you make some exercises. I would like you to recommend to our readers two-three practices they could make every day. And also how can one know if they are working?

Choose what you prefer here.
To know if what you do is working – or not – don’t listen to your head. Connect with your heart and feel.

11. I would like you to tell something about Laughter Peace Project and also about the way you introduce laughter in School and Hospitals – examples, effects.

You are well informed 🙂 This peace project is a small and informal project of mine in Israel and Palestine, because I wanted to do more than just have an opinion on the topic. I believe peace starts inside each and every one of us, and I wanted to share in all humility what I do with people there. I can’t say it was a major success but what I did was well received on both sides of the fence, and it’s not then end of that story yet.

Hospitals & schools: I work primarily with staff and teachers and am not directly involved myself in what they do after that.

Some of the people I worked with did this and this that was documented over a decade ago. (For some reason not everybody wants everybody to know what they are doing so only a fraction and what is done is documented.) For something more recent see this.

12. You call yourself a laughterpreneur – how many laughterpreneurs are there?

Nowhere near enough. For actual numbers it’s impossible to count, but based on my experience and in relationship to other fields of activity it sadly remains a fairly small crowd because many assume they know what to do simply because they can laugh. Running a business and conveying a truly transformational message requires more than just repeat “fake it until you make it” or “laugh for no reason.”

13. I understand you have learned everything with Mr Kataria in Mumbai but you made Laugher popular in many countries. Is there any way you share profits of your work in India? Or give credits to Indian doctor and his method?

Not quite. I am infinitely and eternally grateful for the spark that Dr Kataria put into my life, and most of what I know in the world of laughter I had to learn from other teachers or discover on my own.
I do not share profit of my work with India. I think sending money around the world when there is so much need at my own door is not wise. I contribute to social projects in my own community.
Also I’ve never had any interest in being in the public eye and would not claim that “I” made laughter popular anywhere. All I did – and keep doing – is share that same spark of inspiration where I can.

14. How is your Laughter Wellness different of what Mr Kataria taught you?

Read more on this here. For the record I”m not in competition with anybody and greatly value what Dr Kataria does. The world of Laughter Yoga is a rich and diverse one with many different schools that all get inspiration one from another and from my perspective that’s a very good thing. No one flower is more beautiful than another. Season, geography and weather – amongst several other factors and metaphorically speaking of course – dictate what works best, where, and when.

15. Is laughter political?

Yes, and maybe not in the way you think.
I see it as a declaration of independence from fear, stress, anxiety and the like.
What’s important from my perspective is not what’s happening outside in the world, but your personal experience of that.
You cannot control what happens to you, but you choose what you do with it.

16. Can laugher change the world?

It’s easy to talk about world peace, but which peace are we talking of: Yours or mine?
I’m not an advocate of world peace. I think it’s a bad concept that’s actually an unconscious invitation for war because we’re not all at the same level of human development and you can’t have babies impose their world view of what peace means to mature adults. It’s like salt. I can’t dictate how much you should put in your plate because I think I know better than you do what’s good for you. Unless you ask for my advice whatever I do won’t be welcome.
I say focus on yourself first, then your family, then your community, etc., in respect of course of everybody else – if what you do cannot be done by everybody for everybody’s benefit then it’s not good – and trust in the bigger picture that what is meant to happen will happen in its own time for the highest good of all involved.
Beyond help us all live in harmony and respect for each other’s differences, what laughter can do is also help us all live in melody.

17. I once did an interview with a girl who brings back the importance of joy to children’s life – she travels to refugee camps, orphanages. I wonder if similar thing with laughter wouldn’t be a good idea.

It is a good idea but needs to be adapted. In those environment clowns do much better work because the red nose is an instant pattern breaker. My wife is a full time hospital clown and uses Laughter Wellness daily with the dying.

18. I have read that 3 year old children laugh around 300 times a day, adults – 10 times (maybe you have some other data). When do we loose this ability? Why? Is there anyone to blame? And how not to loose it?

Don’t believe everything you read. Here are 3 of the most pervasive urban myths in the world of laughter. The intention is good, but the science is weak:

19. I know that you have trained in many alternative medicine types: reiki, head massage, yoga. Alternative medicine recognizes the power of laughter? Does it link to it? Any examples?

I do not advocate nor support the use of laughter as a form of alternative therapy. It’s not designed to replace anything, but rather work alongside other established modalities. And yes many individual healthcare professionals support it, and occasionally institutions (a colleague of mine got at €125,000 contract about 5 years ago working for the social security to provide regular Laughter Yoga interventions in local wellness clinics), but those are isolated cases. Much work remains to be done. Give us another 10 to 20 years.

20. What is your personal story? How did you come to the world of laughter

Watch this.

My story is that of many: Stress almost killed me and I found laughter on my quest to recover health.

21. Can you refer me to people I can talk to who have experienced major health benefits with laughter?

I’m happy to share, and let’s be clear that you can ask any laughter teacher in your area who have been professionally active for at least 1 year and they will give you plenty of stories of their own.

Some of the many powerful and documented stories you will find online include:

25 Casual Questions Just For Fun

1. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

The unexpected wit of Stanley Unwin.

2. What is your favorite anecdote?

It’s easy for me to get distracted with mundane stuff when I get in a creative space. I have frequently tried to brush my teeth with shaving cream. Tried to take an airplane once 24 hours ahead of schedule.

3. What book changed your life?

Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda.

4. What books do you have on your bedside table?

No books anymore: it’s called an iPad that’s connected to the e-catalog of the L.A. library, which is to say a great number of libraries around the world. I read a lot and it’s simply amazing (and free.)

5. What books would you recommend?

The answer was, is, and always will be “it depends”: how full or hungry are you?

6. Do you have a writing routine?

By force: Yes. They’re called emails.
By choice: Yes, every single day, with the only exception of the days when I don’t write.

7. What are some of your personal quirks?

Am very health conscious and prepare/bake/cook/dehydrate/sprout most of everything I eat myself. Haven’t seen a TV ad in years (I don’t have a TV and block online ads.) I use food and very simple things to heal people in my family. Haven’t been sick or taken medication since I left the army 23 years ago.

8. Do you think criticism helps any?

Not the beginning of the fraction of the shadow of 1.

9. Do you have any definite ideas or projects for the future?

Yes, and so should you. Always keep your dreams alive and do your best to achieve them. Our brain starts to die when we stop creating.

10. Who is your humor/comedy/laughter inspiration?

Jesus. (I’ve posted some pictures here.)

11. In what place are you happiest?

My heart.

12. What’s your favorite place to visit?

Sacred spaces. I love heart-opening vibrations.

13. What drives you on?

Hope

14. What is your biggest extravagance?

You’re a curious one, aren’t you.
Did a full round-the-world trip once (84 days) which I organized 2 months before, and got paid to do it.

15. What is your greatest achievement so far?

Who doesn’t love the Laughter Online University?

16. What is your greatest disappointment?

I once lost track of the essential and got involved into a lawsuit. I deeply regret not having had the courage to say “I’m not comfortable with this situation anymore. You keep the money. I’m off. Blessings to you. Bye.

17. What is your most memorable experience with your audience?

In general: When hearts open, judgements vanish, we transcend duality and all become souls here, now, choosing to enjoy each other’s company.
In particular: The above doesn’t happen every time, but often enough to make it impossible to single out any one particular event.

18. How much of your work is autobiographical?

I don’t understand the question, so here is my answer: I am an Innerpreneur. If what I do doesn’t help me grow I don’t do it.

19. What is the best and worst thing of being an laughter wellness coach?

+ Being in a creative, open-hearted space.
– Having to run a business and being cerebral.

20. What is your take on life and death?

In general: What we each believe only matters as far as the impact it has on our everyday life. Are your beliefs helping you becoming daily a better version of yourself?
Specifically: I’d argue that most people are not afraid of dying but of truly living.

21. Do you believe in euthanasia?

I’m guessing you’re asking if I agree with it.
I refuse to give a general answer to what will always be specific situations. Kindly be more specific.

22. How would you like to be remembered?

A feeling of warmth in your heart, a big smile on your face, and a tear in your eye when you think of me.

23. Do you have an advice to the world?

Do more. Talk less. WWJD?

24. Do you believe in afterlife?

I do, and since it’s my opinion I am right.

25. Famous last words?

It is very beautiful over there.