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COMMENTARY: Why we need to laugh more

When I started uploading pranks on YouTube in 2007, I couldn’t have imagined it would lead to 10 billion video views and 5 million followers. Let alone a full-time career in comedy and movie/TV production. I just wanted to sell as many Pooters as I could.

Because I’m sure you’re wondering, a “Pooter” is a small, handheld device that makes a realistic fart sound when you squeeze it. All I did was recycle an old idea similar to the famous “Whoopee Cushion.” The difference is that you could conceal this in your hand and squeeze it whenever you wanted.

My videos resonated with millions over the years because, whether you like it or not, the sound of flatulence is something we all have in common. It doesn’t matter your race, language or gender.

I first noticed the one thing every single video had in common. Nearly everyone who heard the sound laughed. The common denominator between virtually ALL the people I pranked was laughter or the element of surprise. It occurred to me that we’re really not that different from one another. Maybe it’s laughter that can change the world. And maybe I stumbled onto something that can cause much more laughter in people’s lives.

Then, one day I came across an article about how laughter is significantly missing from our lives today and that even science proves there is this miraculous power with laughing.

I started learning about the healing effects it can have on our bodies, physically and mentally. Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. It increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Laughter can even ease your pain by causing your body to release its painkillers. It helps with depression and improves your overall mood. And this is true! Do you know how negative thoughts can manifest into chemical reactions that are harmful? Excessive laughter does the opposite.

These days, tweens (ages 8 to 12) spend an average of up to seven hours on social media daily. For teens, studies show they are spending more than eight hours daily on their phones. Because of the excessive usage of social media, people are becoming more and more socially awkward. Fewer people talk face to face. Heck, we don’t even want to call people anymore. If we have a quick question, we just shoot them a text. Why have a real conversation with someone when we can communicate without hearing their voice? SAD.

It stands to reason that, if we, as a society, are living in and moving toward a generation where we don’t have to spend quality time with one another, we will soon become a world filled with a bunch of human beings who don’t know how to express ourselves because we are always hiding behind our screens.

This is why I love pulling pranks on my family, friends and the general public. Sometimes I feel like I’m fighting for a great cause. I look around, seeing an entire world filled with people who need their day-to-day life interrupted so they have a funny story to tell their friends. And yes, they will probably be sharing the experience with their friends on social media rather than in person, but at least I tried to bring some unexpected laughter into their lives for one moment in their day.

Laughter is a big deal, and I believe we should take it seriously.

Jack Vale is a social media prankster, comedian, actor, producer and YouTube personality. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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