Laughter challenge

Laughter challenge

For 12 years,Makarand Tilloo has been making people laugh on stage,as a stand-up comedian and researching on laughter in his spare time.

More and more industrialists are turning to laughter therapy for relieving stress

For 12 years,Makarand Tilloo has been making people laugh on stage,as a stand-up comedian and researching on laughter in his spare time. In the last few years he has also taken to training corporate employees on the benefits of laughter. His theory is that stress,like happiness can be controlled – therefore it can be increased and decreased according to our will. And while earlier laughter as a theory and practise remained limited to senior citizens,Tilloo observes that in these days of increasing competition,decreasing jobs and demanding work hours,corporate world seems to be turning towards laughter to help its employees and improve productivity.

“I tell the participants,they have a choice between flight and fight. No problem can be solved in stressful conditions,but laughter induces a light mood and one can come up with several creative solutions. With a few laughter exercises,our moods can be controlled and improved upon. With practice,it becomes a habit,” says Tilloo.

In the last one year,Tilloo has conducted trained employees at Tata Motors,Pune Bank Association,YASHADA,Pune Municipal Corporation and the police department as well.


“We held a four-hour training session in December. This was for our employees who are nearing retirement. We noticed that laughter does bring an improvement in attitude,it changes the outlook or the participants; hopefully they will be able to maintain it on their own,” says Satish Gokhale,training coordinator,Tata Motors. ” We want to conduct such sessions for regular employees as well and regularly,” he adds

Ashok Deshmukh is another expert who’s called in by corporate managements in the city to help their employees fight stress. For 25 years,Deshmukh has taught people the benefits of yoga,meditation,and simple living. In the last few years,he has incorporated a component on the benefits of laughter as well.

“Laughter helps us forget. In my experience,executives in corporate corridors seem to have this allergy towards laughing. One has to force it out of them. One has to tell them how to laugh in different ways – artificially– slowly,then loudly,” says Deshmukh. He listed Tata Motors,Mercedes Benz,Forbes Marshall,Coca Cola,as among his clients. Like Tilloo,he also takes sessions with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and the Police department. Those attending these lectures say that the benefits are immeasurable. At YASHADA itself,more than 5000 employees have attended these laughter yoga sessions. When the three day training session was held for state government or private executives,one of the modules is always on stress management. “We have participants from Nagpur,Vidharbha,Marathwada,and other districts as well. At the end of the sessions,we have a feedback form and almost always these laughter sessions have scored well,” says B N Mahajan,training coordinator,at YASHADA.