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This is the Work Smart Hypnosis Podcast, session number 52, Laughing with Dave Berman. Welcome to the Work Smart Hypnosis Podcast with Jason Lynette, your professional resource for hypnosis training and outstanding business success. Here’s your host, Jason Lynette. Hey there and welcome back. We are here today with a content filled session here with Dave Bur.
First met Dave, uh, about a year or two ago at Hypno Thoughts Live and then got to know him through various projects. And then more specifically, the recent release of an awesome book with previous work Smart Hypnosis podcast guest, Kelly T. Woods little book called Laughter for the Health of It, which you can check out over at Laughter for the Health of.
Dot com, which will also shorten that to be work smart hypnosis.com/laugh, and that will bring you right there. What’s really cool about this session is that laughter and humor have been a theme throughout so many of the conversations that we’ve captured here inside of this program, of bringing humor, bringing insight, bringing that release of energy in a positive way.
Into the actual hypnotic process and what Dave and what Kelly have put together inside of this book. Laughter for the health of it is actually capturing some of the science and then specific strategies that the hypnosis or NLP practitioner or coach or whatever could begin to fold in or even just simply use for yourself to begin to get that neurology, get the nervous system working in a much more positive, more beneficial.
So let’s jump right in. This is session number 52, Laughing with Dave Berman.
So I got into hypnosis through nlp. I had had repeated encounters with NLP over the years and always felt like it resonated and was congruent for me with my academic. Background, a communication degree from Cornell University, and a lot of strategies that I developed myself as a community organizer and what I called being an advocacy journalist.
I created a lot of media that was intended to support community organizing efforts, and the only way to. Judge. The success of the advocacy journalism was whether or not it actually achieved the community organizing goals or not. And that was after having spent 10 years as a radio dj. So I had a lot of media experience.
It was all communication on the basis of one to many. And then I had this experience. I had helped a friend and the friend’s wife wanted to thank me, gifted me a hypnosis session, and in hypnosis, I, I realized that I was not where I wanted to. I, I already knew. I guess that wasn’t where I wanted to be with the community organizing and.
Kind of freelance advocacy journalism work I was doing. And so what came to me in this hypnosis session was that I really wanted to shift gears and communicate more on a basis of one to one instead of one to many, and that I could really focus on the ability to influence people by letting them come to me and tell me they wanted to be influenced by me, rather than broadcasting mass messages, hoping to be able to influence people.
And that didn. Immediately translate to deciding to study nlp. But very shortly after I had my next of these, you know, kind of synchronistic encounters with nlp and then it tied back to the hypnosis session and it just made sense for me. And I’d had some hypnosis prior to that too over the years. But it, I didn’t know the connection between hypnosis and NLP until I started studying it.
And then, you know, of course studying NLP led me to hypnosis. And that was over five years. There’s something that I keep running into with people that are making that transition and whether they’re, they’re brand new to the hypnosis, they’re brand new to the NLP side of things, but it would be that moment where as they’re learning this information, it becomes that, that almost epiphany of, Oh, I’ve already been doing this stuff.
Mm-hmm. , I’ve already been making use of that, and I’m specifically wondering about that. Relating back to the communications and the, the work you were doing before, were you finding that was part of the. I didn’t recognize it as such, but what kept happening when I would have these encounters with nlp, I would say, Yeah, there’s, there’s something intuitive for me about this, or some of the strategies and theories that I’ve cultivated and promoted on my own really seem to match up pretty well here.
And so I was looking into NLP more to underst. How to expand what I was already doing. But when I did that, it made me realize I wanted to use NLP in its more common applications, you know, for helping people, you know, with the kinds of issues they come to a in a clinical setting. Yeah. So how did you make that transition?
Well first I got trained by Kevin Cole and Oh cool. You know, started a part-time practice, went back and got more training and more training, and did the whole year program the first year that Scott Sandlin and Richard Clark had the Hypnosis Practitioner Training Institute. And my practice just kept growing.
This was when I was in Northern California, now in Atlanta, Georgia. And you know, laughter, which I know we’re gonna talk about a little bit here today too, you know, that was something that I was. Immersing myself in as well, pretty much at a parallel timetable to all this. My very first encounter with laughter yoga was a one off experience in the spring of 2009, but around the same time that I did my first NLP training, I found that there was a free laughter class being offered in my town, and I started going regularly.
And so my trajectory with both of them was sort of simultaneous. And after a while I was really aware of the benefits of cultivating an unconditional laughter practice, you know, what that was doing for me. And I started to see how it would have benefits for my clients too. And so I was suggesting to some of them that they go to laughter class, and I was incorporating concepts and techniques from, you know, laughter exercises that I learned in laughter class with my hypnosis and nlp.
Work with clients. And then eventually I started sharing this with hypnotists and that led to speaking publicly about it. And after the, the first time I spoke publicly about it, it was really well received and the video of it made it to Kelly Woods and she contacted me and said, You’re really onto something here.
And I think you can be a thought leader in our field bringing these two things together. I wanna work with you to develop that further in the form of a book. And so that’s what we have now. Laughter for the health. Nice. Nice. Now, the audience here mostly are familiar with hypnosis. I’d say the bigger majority with hypnosis, smaller minority with nlp for those that the laughter is brand new to.
I mean, you can just say laughter and I go, Oh yeah, I do that all the time. But specifically, what are the practices inside of these laughter therapies? Well, let’s be clear that we are distinguishing unconditional laughter, which is laughter on purpose. Yeah. From conditional laughter, which is what we’re all used to laughing at, jokes and humor.
See somebody slip on of an, an appeal, whatever. You know, we have a, a natural laughter reflex from birth really, and that is typically conditional. Laughter, But with laughter yoga, which is what I call a health craze that’s kind of swept the entire globe in the last 20 years, we are teaching people to laugh intentionally on purpose without jokes or humor because there are many health benefits to it.
And the reason that I’ve. Kind of melded this with hypnosis. And the reason why I’ve managed to get invited to speak at hypnosis conferences, and Kelly said we really gotta put this in a book form, is because the health benefits of laughter, which I’m sure will explore in a moment, they derive from the same mind body principles as hypnosis.
So in hypnosis, we’re all familiar with the saying, Your body can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s vividly imagine. With laughter, we say the body can’t tell The difference between laughing at something funny and laughing on purpose, that’s because your brain is gonna do the same things.
It’s gonna reduce your cortisol. It’s gonna, you know, stimulate production of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins. It’s gonna oxygenate your blood, so your circulation is improving. Your immune system is strengthened. Your tolerance for pain increases. There’s other benefits that might not necessarily constitute health benefits, but are relevant to us as hypnotist as well.
You know, the dopamine production makes us more receptive to learning the oxytocin. Production facilitates bonding. I mean, they call oxytocin the bonding hormone. We know that it’s stimulated when women are breastfeeding, when all people hug. Do some other kind of intimate activity with another person. So the idea of bonding with your clients, you know, child dini’s, principles of influence.
Talk about liking, you know, people who laugh together and have that sense of affinity for each other. They, they like each other more. So you are increasing your ability to influence your clients when you teach them to laugh with you. So there’s a lot of reasons why this is a good complimentary. Fit with hypnosis and it starts from that same mind body premise.
Well, I mean, there’s something to be said. There’s um, a bit of language that I’ve sometimes used with clients where it’s that moment where they’re perhaps in a negative twist of fake it till you make it, which there may be some truth to that. I, I tend to wanna re, re dub that as fooling the neurology that by getting the action in place first.
So let’s think of it if it’s in terms of motivating a. The one here this morning who wanted to get out and exercise more. The one later today that wants to be a little bit more focused with his study time of getting that action in place first and the simple action of doing it is gonna begin to create some of these triggered responses onto its own.
So similar to that, getting the body laughing and I love that concept of the unconditional laughing that the laughter itself, whether we have a reason to laugh or not, which it is a reason enough to begin to produce these benefits. Right, Exactly. Right. Yeah. Got it, got it. So you were gonna share something and tell me if this is a good time to do it.
The morning ritual that you’ve got? Oh, yeah. . Uh, when I wake up, the first thing I do each morning is stand in front of the mirror and I tap all over my body and I hop around and I laugh, and I just do it for about two or three minutes, and I find that it energizes me and invigorates me. And even if I’ve only slept for a couple of hours, you know, an inadequate night of sleep when I do.
I don’t feel like I’m not rested enough. I feel like I’m totally ready to go. Mm. So getting that neurology moving, getting the mind moving into the body moving too. Yeah, absolutely. And it doesn’t take very long. I mean, maybe that’s just because I’ve been doing this a while and you know, my body’s accustomed to it.
It might take somebody newer, a little bit longer to get the same. You know, morning wake up benefits that I’m getting. But yeah, I gotta say I swear by that, you know, really helps me. So the dangerous question here, which I’m sure you address, which is that person who says, Well, there’s nothing to laugh at right now.
There’s nothing funny right now. Let’s start with that one first. How do you respond to that? There’s often nothing funny, but that doesn’t have to stop us. If you just make laughter. Sounds like you’re starting to stimulate your vagus nerve and your diaphragm is going up and down. I mean, doing. A laughter yoga class is like a gentle cardio workout, and of course, stimulating the vagus nerve is activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the offset to the sympathetic nervous system, fight or flight.
So this is partly where the benefit of. Laughing on purpose as a way to reduce stress comes in. I mean, there’s a lot of other benefits as well. It may seem self-evident, but let me just kind of give this explanation in case when you start choosing to laugh in this way, it may challenging at first just in a social convention kind of way.
You may feel a little inhibited, but if you choose to do it, because you understand the mind body principles at work are, you know, always on. You can’t turn them off. You can’t opt out of it. They work the same for everybody all the time, everywhere. If you do this, your body will have this response and once you start doing it, it becomes a new pattern.
So doing intentional laughter, unconditional laughter becomes a great pattern. Interrupt you can use. With your clients, if you’re a hypnotist, you know, as a way to help interrupt their patterns, you know, instead of saying, Oh look, a pink squirrel. You know, you can just laugh or invite them to laugh, but also the development of this as a habit can lead to the short circuiting of.
Unuseful unresourceful patterns. So for me, for example, I find that rather than, you know, swearing in frustration or slamming something down because I’m irritated instead now I laugh mm-hmm. , that’s become my new conditioned response. Nice, nice. So almost another alternative for self hypnosis. Well, sure. It, it could be looked at in that way.
James Hazel R has framed it. This is another way to do a kinesthetic swish. Yeah, I love that. I love that. Let me ask you this then, as we’re putting that together. How would you recommend hypnotist introduce this style of work into what they’re already doing? Well first I, I would say learn a bit more about it than just listening to this podcast.
This hopefully is gonna peak your interest in, what do you mean, mind body principles behind the benefits of laughter? It’s exactly what I am saying it is, and we explain in detail with research citations in the book, laughter for the health of it, how you can predictably count on these changes occurring in your body.
So first of all, like you would. Any new sort of subtopic or niche within hypnosis ed, educate yourself before you bring this into your clinical setting, but then you can talk about it with your clients in the same way that you would introduce mindfulness or EFT or any other mm-hmm. related component that you incorporate into your work.
You know, I tell people, this is something that has personally benefited me greatly. I tell people that I use this with a lot of other clients who benefit greatly. I mean, all. Tools of influence that you know how to use, you know, from social proof to liking, to contrast everything else that you already know how to use can be a means of facilitating the introduction of this topic.
But you, you wanna know more about it than what I can give you in this brief podcast. Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll point over to that, uh, website where you can learn more about the book, it’s laughter for the health of it.com, or we can shorten that here to work smart hypnosis.com. Forward slash laugh, both of those will go to the same place.
Thank you. I appreciate that dish. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I wanna bounce back for a moment cuz I took a note on this just to explore it further pain relief using this modality as, uh, an addition as an adjunct to working with pain. Share some of the thinking behind that. Well, endorphins are naturally produced when we laugh, and endorphins are the body’s natural pain killer.
So we can laugh at pain just the same way we can objectify pain or simply observe it in a mindful way and know that the act of just noticing will change what it is. That you’re observing. All of these, to me, seem pretty related, but there’s also research that shows that laughter can increase the tolerance for pain.
Not necessarily make it go away, but make a person better able to withstand their experience. So it’s in that sense, it’s related, I would say, structurally and conceptually to hypnosis, but it’s not exactly the same as. Another tool for your toolbox. So adding in that element of not only the pain relief, but also the pain prevention.
Sure. So when you’re making use of this with your client, is it something that’s more so inside of the actual process, or is it something that you’re also training them how to do on their own? both. I mean, I, I work very conversationally, so I don’t often distinguish, you know, I don’t necessarily think I have to do an induction and deepen somebody and get them into just the right state in order for them to be able to learn something.
So I, I talk about this very openly, you know, in a, in a conscious state and get them practicing it and, you know, it may be useful if they have a hard time overcoming. Sense of inhibition or that it’s too silly. It may be helpful to come back to it once they’re in hypnosis, but I don’t know. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in that.
I, I think, you know, from an ericsonian perspective, all hypnotic phenomena are things that we experience in ordinary. Life and conscious waking states all the time. So, you know, I don’t necessarily think I have to do hypnosis with people to get them to experience change or, or produce phenomena even. Yeah.
Like the phrase that we can be hypnotic just as much as we can do hypnosis in our process. Yeah, exactly. That was something that I learned from Scott Sandlin on day one at H P T I that has become so integrated into my mindset and philosophy of change. Good. Good. So I tell you what, what’s the next step in this?
The book is out there and it’s a great book. It’s a short read too, which is awesome about it. A lot of information packed in there. You’ve even got an interview in there with the actual founder of Laughter Yoga, right? Yes. Dr. Madon Kataria is a cardiologist. He’s not practicing cardiology anymore, but he.
Is from India and he was a practicing cardiologist. And in the mid nineties, March, 1995, he started this global movement called Laughter Yoga. And we contacted him about, you know, our concept for this book, and he loved it. So he wrote the forward to the book and he granted an interview that’s transcribed in the final chapter, and he, he says some amazing things.
I, I really think we should probably excerpt at least part of that transcript and added to our website because I, I think it’s so inspirational. He’s a real humanitarian. I have so much admiration and love for that man, and I really only ever talked to him directly the one time that we did the interview.
But he’s had such a profound influence on my life, I would say. Creating this global health craze that I’ve been a part of now for over six years. I mentioned that to look back in some of the past recordings here on this podcast, and I believe even so with the recording that I did with Kelly T. Woods, your co-author in this project, a common through line from nearly everybody is that I often would ask, you know, what’s kind of the goal?
What’s the intention of the session? What’s the experience you want someone having left with? And a common through line has been humor, has been laughter from so many people, from so many people. You know, we know in this profession, and I think it’s really fascinating to actually go into that laughter, to go into that humor and use it intentionally, and instead of just by accident at times.
What do you see as the next phase of this in terms of widening that knowledge of the benefits of this and then putting it into the actual hypnotic process too? Well, I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far of getting people to, you know, interview us and get articles out and so forth, you know, to raise awareness of the book.
It’s possible we may strike a deal with a publisher. That’s something that would get the book into bookstores. I don’t wanna really say anything more about that until it’s for certain, but it, it’s seeming like a possibility. We’ve talked. Doing a video series. I just started messing around with an app on my phone called Periscope that apparently my phone is really too old for.
So I either gotta get a new phone or figure out another way to do this. But I wanna have a series of short videos Yeah. That allow me to do demonstrations of laughter interspersed with the lessons about how. These are applicable to various issues that hypnotists see. You know, in the book we give some specific examples related to stress, anxiety, panic attacks, pain, sleep.
There’s some research referenced about diabetes, so all sorts of things working with kids, working with older adults. The book is filled with actual laughter exercises that readers of the book can do on their own and get comfortable with before then. Introducing them to clients because obviously the book also has instructions for hypnotists and therapists in general for that matter, to get their head around how to bring this into the clinical setting.
Yeah, just adding another set of tools to, uh, already wide toolbox. So that book, again, Laughter for the Health of It, you can find it at, uh, laughter for the health of it.com. And we’ll also make a little link there for, uh, work smart hypnosis.com/. Dave, it’s awesome having you on here. There’s one more thing I wanted to tell you and that, and thank you for having me.
Oh, absolutely. But the thing I wanted to tell you was . Hey, enough laughter. Hey,
was I repeating myself? I’m sorry. I lost track. I see what you did there, . It actually can very easy and natural and comfortable to laugh on purpose and I know that for some people to observe it, it seems really weird and, and I kind of like that, you know, if it makes me seem enigmatic or strange or whatever, I fully embrace that.
I think the more people who see this and recognize that you can just turn it on and off in the midst of talking about serious stuff like this, the more it becomes normalized. And the reality is that it’s already all around the world. This practice called Laughter Yoga that originated in India is now in over a hundred countries and there’s more than 10,000.
Free laughter clubs all over the world. If you go to laughter yoga.org, there’s a directory where you can find the class nearest to you, and if there’s not one really close to you, this is also practiced daily on the phone and on Skype. So people all over the world are calling in to this conference call line by phone or on.
And just laughing together so it’s accessible to everybody everywhere, all ages, all levels of fitness, and, and I just, I can’t recommend it highly enough, you know, even outside the context of hypnosis. Thanks for listening to the work. Smart Hypnosis Podcast and work smart hypnosis.com. Hey, thanks again for joining us here today on this program.
This is Jason Lynette, and I ask you a simple question. Have you ever heard a client say, I felt relaxed, but I don’t know if I was hypnotized? Well, unfortunately, that often would mean that one of the most critical elements of your hypnotic process, Might have gone missing. And the whole category of doing testing and convincers inside of the hypnotic process is admittedly that one that many people have dismissed.
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