She became known through YouTube videos in which she gives tips on how to learn to laugh – and which can initially seem quite weird to unsuspecting viewers. Laughter trainer Carmen Goglin, 56, revealed to the star why criticism and mockery no longer bother her and why we should all laugh more.
Hello Ms. Goglin, have you laughed today? Yes, of course, that’s part of every day for me!
Can you also tell us about what? I don’t need a reason, so I can’t really put a number on it. Through the laughter training – I’ve been doing it for over 10 years – I find reasons very quickly and very regularly. And even if I can’t find a reason, I just laugh like that.
You work as a laughter coach, can you describe your job in more detail? Naturally. We train in a very specific way – laughter. Namely, it goes back to laughter yoga, and laughter yoga is laughter without a reason. So that you can laugh, so to speak, without anything funny having to happen outside. It’s like jogging or weight training. You can practice laughing in the same way. Laughter is innate and everyone can do that, but unfortunately we get used to it a bit in our lives today.
What effect does laughter have on the body and psyche? In any case, the body is first supplied with more oxygen, the organs are massaged, and endorphins are released. We relax because you can’t brood and laugh at the same time. When you laugh, you are in the here and now and automatically relax. You don’t have to exert yourself at all, instead, relaxation comes about automatically.
Does it really help if you laugh “artificially” so to speak, i.e. not in a good mood? Absolutely. Even if you just put a pencil between your lips, the corners of your mouth are turned up slightly and your brain gets the signal: ‘I’m fine’. And immediately it starts changing the chemistry in the body. Our body cannot differentiate between artificial and natural laughter. We get the effects that laughter has right away, even if it’s just artificial at first.
How did you come to be doing this rather unusual job today? For me it went through depression. I had depression about twelve years ago and also did classic psychotherapy, but at the end of the therapy I had the feeling that I wasn’t my old self again. The laughter hasn’t come back yet, something is still missing, I still lack the energy. Then I went looking. I’m not the kind of guy who can sit down and switch off and meditate, which was difficult for me then. So I tried a few things and got stuck in laughter yoga relatively quickly because I’ve always loved to laugh. I just thought it was nice and then I noticed during this apprenticeship: ‘Okay, I can laugh again. I can relax again, happiness is back for a moment.’ And I found that so refreshing and good for me. It’s such a powerful resource that you have inside you, and that’s why I said, ‘I’d like to pass that on to my customers, too.’
Is there regular training for this? Well, there are a lot of laughter trainers in Germany, they just aren’t as well known as I am (laughs). And there is the inventor of laughter yoga, that is Doctor Madan Kataria. I also did teacher training with him. The laughter yoga ladder training takes two days, so you can pass something on relatively quickly. And then I was in Austria for another week at Madan.
Are you personally in a bad mood or sad? If yes, then what do you do? I don’t go against it directly, I allow myself to do that. I’ve found that it’s also important to let out anger or feel sadness. So all the feelings we have, all the emotions that come up, have their justification and are allowed to be there, from my point of view. The only question is: how long? Are we staying in the trouble? How long do we feel the anger? And there is my recipe to say: Okay, feel it intensely, take two or three minutes for it and then say it very consciously – but I don’t want to be angry about it all day. Because that only hurts myself, now I consciously go into one of the laughing exercises or do something paradoxical and then I can laugh heartily.
Is there an exercise you can recommend people to use to improve their mood when they are having a bad day, for example? It’s like everywhere, tastes are different, some just jump on the exercise, the other on that. I have over 400 exercises on my Youtube channel. And you can actually combine every everyday action with a laugh and you already have a laughing exercise. Well, you can create it yourself. The “laughing glasses” for example. You make two circles with your fingers, like imaginary glasses, and look through them. Then comes the situational comedy, and then you just start laughing.
And do you look in the mirror? No, you just look into the room. Of course, when two people laugh together, it goes much faster. You look at each other and in the end eye contact is enough.
What are the things in your everyday life that make you laugh the most? Oh, about my grandchildren, for example. They make me laugh very quickly. Or even if, if some funny incident happens to me, like you stumble or you do some nonsense that you actually know better. I’m very good at laughing at myself.
You are well known on the Internet, especially on social networks. How did that happen? I started making laughter videos about four years ago. My YouTube channel had 80 subscribers in November 2020: friends, acquaintances, people who meant well by me. And then came Finch Asocial, the German rapper. He parodied three of my laughing videos in November 2020. And then I stood there and thought: ‘Oh God’. Well, I didn’t find it funny at first, to be honest. Seeing a parody of yourself isn’t funny at first. And of course the fans of Finch Antisocial are made of different stuff than my fans.
Then all the haters came over me, a hate wave. I’ve been ridiculed and judged by people who don’t even know me, who don’t even know why I’m doing this. But that changed relatively quickly and there was a lot of positive feedback. The press, radio and television also got in touch. I’ve been seen on many television programs and heard in many radio interviews. Many newspapers reported about me and my story. As a result, those 80 subscribers back in November 2020 have now grown to 27,000. Of course it’s more fun that way.
Are there still sometimes critical comments? Of course, you can’t get rid of them. But I’ve had a process of realization in the last year and a half: In the beginning people just laugh about me and my videos, then at some point they laugh with me and my videos. And if you understand the message, you can laugh all by yourself. He can laugh, even if there is nothing to laugh about on the outside, and he can simply bring back this power of laughter and use it for himself and do himself good.
How would you explain to someone who has never heard of laughter therapy and would probably look at a video like this with incomprehension at first, why what you are doing is good and important? First of all, I would say: Your body cannot differentiate between artificial and natural laughter and there are a great many health benefits. Laughter is a very powerful resource that we have within us and that we can use whenever we want. Because we communicate less and less directly with each other and communicate more and more via media, i.e. via emails or WhatsApp or in writing, we laugh less and less. It makes sense to learn to laugh for no reason so that you can have it in bad times. If you practice it in good times, you can easily use it in bad times. Where I would also definitely use it is when you have to deliver: when you have to go to an interview, when you have to take an exam.
You also sell laughter videos that people send as gifts. What kind of people buy these and is it a lucrative business? So, I do an average of ten a week. There are people, I would say, between 20 and 40 who give away the videos. It’s a birthday, or a wedding, or sometimes a get well wish. These portals are made for celebrities, so it’s relatively easy to record and send, you just have to enter the clips, they take care of the money. This is a story that is already lucrative for me – but on the side. I still have a serious job.
Do you like the song “Die immer lacht” by Kerstin Ott? I have to be honest with you: In the beginning I related it entirely to myself. I fully recognized myself there, because it also has a message. The one who always laughs outwardly – but when she’s alone, she cries. That has something to do with simply starting to laugh after a depression. In the meantime, the hype surrounding the song has died down, so I don’t get asked about it that often anymore, but there was a time when I really said yes to it and thought it was good.