Connecting through laughter: An interview with Arturs Ivanovs

Not long to go now, so here’s another teaser to warm you up for TEDxSquareMile 2015 this Saturday. Here we talk to speaker and laughter yoga practitioner Arturs Ivanovs about how he connects through laughter…

1. Can you tell us a little about laughter yoga and what it means to you?

arturs ivanovLaughter yoga is a combination of laughter exercises and yoga deep breathing. It is a simple, fast, effective and powerful tool, which everyone can use to promote their good health and sense of happiness. Laughter yoga combines the art of laughing and science of breathing in playful and fun exercises.

Since I was a child I have always loved to make people laugh and really enjoy seeing people smiling and happy. My ultimate goal in life is to live 100 healthy and happy years. In 2013, I discovered Laughter Yoga and found it to be a simple and powerful tool to help me achieve this outcome.

Laughter Yoga has given me the opportunity to express myself professionally and to earn a living doing what I love. There is nothing else in my life which gives me the same pleasure as when I am leading a laughter yoga class or training my students and seeing them happy. It makes me feel very happy and blessed to do this job.

2. What is the link between laughter yoga and ‘Getting Connected’?

“Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal language connection”. – Yakov Smirnoff

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people” – Victor Borge

Through laughter yoga, I have seen that joyful laughing is infectious and brings people together. I have witnessed the power of laughter connecting hearts.

3. What do you hope people will gain from hearing your talk?

I will share how laughter yoga has changed my life and how it can change other peoples’ lives. My aim is to give people a fast and easy tool that anyone can use to connect with themselves and with others. I will demonstrate how you can change your emotional state within a few minutes by performing laughter yoga exercises. My goal is to unleash the laughter giant within you for ultimate health and happiness.

4. What drew you towards speaking at TEDxSquareMile?

TEDxSquareMile is a great platform which positively impacts many people’s lives. It is a great way to inspire people and share ideas. I believe the topic ‘Get Connected’ is the perfect theme to share how laughter yoga encourages connection.

5. Apart from laughter yoga, what’s your favourite way to get connected?

I love anything that encourages real connections and causes us to use our human senses: touch, smell, sound and sight. This can be anything from laughing, singing and dancing to playing and experiencing nature.

6. Describe your TEDx talk in one sentence…

The demonstration of connection through the power of laughter.

Interview by Chris Glithero

An interview with Irene Scopelliti

Just a few days left to go till we get connected at TEDxSquareMile, and we’ve been asking some of our speakers to share their thoughts about connectivity. First up, consumer psychology researcher Irene Scopelliti…

What does ‘getting connected’ mean to you?

irene_scopetelliTransforming one-shot interactions and random encounters into ongoing relationships that transcend geographical proximity, such that we feel together even when far apart. Getting connected opens up the possibility to have a constant exchange of information, experiences, and emotions with other people who have crossed our path.

Tell us a little about the talk you’ll present and its relation to the ‘Get connected’ theme…

The fact that we are more and more connected to one another multiplies the opportunities to self-promote and brag, in particular via social networking. In addition, some connections are relatively superficial. I’ll present some ideas on the psychology of bragging drawn from research my coauthors and I have conducted on the topic. These ideas help understand how an empathy gap between communicators and their recipients can explain why bragging is perceived so negatively, especially online.

What has your research revealed about the way that people connect with each other and with themselves?

People often brag with good intentions, they share with others their achievements and great moments motivated by their pride and happiness, and by the belief that others may be experiencing the same positive emotions. However, their beliefs often don’t match reality, resulting in what in our studies we call an ‘emotional miscalibration.’ This miscalibration makes us tend to overestimate the extent to which our counterparts will feel proud and happy for us when we brag and underestimate the extent to which they will be annoyed when hearing our good news.

Why do people brag, and do you think they do so more now in the era of social media?

The emotional miscalibration that we observed in our studies may be exacerbated online, because although social media allows us to connect with more and more contacts, these connections may be relatively superficial. A higher psychological distance can increase the empathy gap between our connections and us. Moreover, having a large number of connections may make us feel like we have an audience, which prompts us to engage in more self-promotion and brag more than what we would normally do.

What drew you towards presenting a talk at TEDxSquareMile?
I wanted to make people aware of the empathy gap between our connections and us, and of the potential negative emotional consequences attached to it. Awareness and small nudges to reduce the empathy gap can help us reap more benefits of being connected.

What makes you feel most connected?
Technology. In whatever form allows me to get and feel connected with the important people in my life, wherever in the world I am.

Interview by Chris Glithero.

Check back tomorrow for an interview with laughter yoga practitioner Arturs Ivanovs.

With just three weeks left to go till TEDx SquareMile 2015, now’s a good time to get to know some of our speakers a little better.

First up is John Dennis, an adventurer who will be talking about the importance of getting connected in overcoming depression and other mental health issues.

Interview by Chris Glithero

image_00008In February 2016, John will embark on the ‘dreaded yet thrilling’ Yukon Arctic Ultra – a 300-mile race lasting eight days, in temperatures as low as -49°c. Two years ago, John’s life was somewhat different…

In 2013 John was trapped in severe depression, which he has since identified as being in large part due to his father’s suicide two decades earlier. In that bleak time, he could barely overcome the challenge of leaving his bed, let alone trekking across arctic tundra.

He credits his recovery from this dark period with the strength of the connections that he made to family, friends and experienced professionals. Today, he’s on a mission to raise awareness of mental health issues and to simultaneously push his own limits…

Q: What does the phrase ‘get connected’ mean to you? 

John: It means more to me than simply network connections. ‘Get connected’ means lifeline, help, comfort, friends, family. Because without these things, the chances are that I would not have pulled through my depression.

Q: How important do you think it is for people suffering or recovering from mental illness to get connected?

John: Hugely important. It’s very easy for someone to become inward in a situation like I found myself in – the hardest part is accepting that connections, wherever they come from, are essential. Once you accept that things aren’t in your control, that’s when being connected to those who can help really comes to life. Help is beyond important and I am so grateful for all the support I’ve had throughout the whole recovery process.

Q:  What will your TEDx talk be about? 

John: I am hoping that my story will be of inspiration through the darkest times. I’ll cover my childhood trauma and other early experiences, through to what turned out to be the darkest period of my life, followed by one of the most terrifyingly exciting periods of my life, as a husband and parent, and in taking on these huge events to raise the profile of depression.

Q: When do you feel most connected?

John: When I stand back and look at what has been achieved. Yes, it’s my name with the “depression” tag, though all that’s happened has happened because of my acceptance of help. Connection to me is so much more: feeling, seeing, touching life is so important and it is easy for people to lose sight of that.

Q: In your adventures, how important has it been to be connected, and what form did that connectivity take?

John:  My adventures would not happen without connections, pure and simple. Everyone, I mean everyone, has to start from somewhere. I chose to seek the very best advice and listened to absolutely everyone. Regardless whether the points were positive or negative, I listened. Without that, I would have floundered about and achieved nothing but talk.

You can see John Dennis present his talk, alongside our other exciting speakers at TEDx SquareMile 2015, on 28th November at Cass Business School in the City of London. Click here to purchase tickets, or view our speakers page to find out who else will be there.