Ros Ben-Moshe was writing about a World Health Organisation conference on health promotion, when she enrolled in a session that would change the course of her life.
The group was asked to do its best simulation of laughter so Ms Ben-Moshe put her pen and paper down and joined in.
With deep breathing, gentle movement and intentional giggles, Laughter Yoga creates the rush of a hearty belly laugh.
"I immediately felt the uplifting energy and physical and emotional transformation," she said.
Ms Ben-Moshe now teaches Laughter Yoga, positive psychology and health promotion, "extolling laughter's virtue to anyone who'd listen".
Twenty years on from her first Laughter Yoga session, she's releasing her second book about the benefits of chuckling.
With ideas for building joy, resilience and positivity, The Laughter Effect audio book and hard-copy is released on April 18.
Ms Ben-Moshe said laughing and smiling signals the body to release happy hormones; dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
A good laugh can rival a runner's high.
Intentionally laughing to release happy hormones adds another wellbeing tool to the toolbox, she said.
"Joy isn't some lofty thing that happens to us every week or so," the La Trobe lecturer said.
"We can find joy every day in the little things, we just have to take a moment to appreciate what makes us happy."
Seeing the funny side of life takes practice and time, "like any muscle-building exercise", she said.
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"During a challenging time, even if we can't resolve what's going on, we can bring levity to help us cope with a hard situation," she said.
Before her death in 2022, Olivia Newton-John said she "laughed a lot" in her fight against cancer.
"I know that sounds strange, but I always find that laughter helps me through very uncomfortable and awkward situations," Dame Olivia told magazine Dear Doctor.
The release of happy hormones can be a counter-vailing force against stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, Ms Ben-Moshe said.
Ms Ben-Moshe said joy can be cultivated, a good guffaw doesn't have to rely on a perfectly-delivered joke.
"If you leave joy to chance, it often doesn't swell to the level needed," she said.
That's where the practice of Laughter Yoga comes in.
Sessions typically include movements like clapping or tapping on the body, breathing, stretching, speaking positively and, of course, belly laughs.
Laughter Yoga sets aside time to be silly. Ms Ben-Moshe said it doesn't matter how the laugh started, it just matters that it's happening.
A 2018 study from the University of Auckland compared simulated against natural laughter to test their effect on stress and cardiovascular health.
The study found the cardiovascular benefit was greatest for the group doing simulated laughter, and natural laughers weren't far behind.
Compared to the control group, participants who joined in for a good chuckle saw benefits to their stress levels.
The effects of laughter can spill over and bring joy to those nearby, she said.
In the book, Ms Ben-Moshe recounted running an online Laughter Yoga workshop while holidaying at a rainforest retreat.
She took her laptop outside, with the rainforest in her background and led the workshop of tittering students through a session. Hoots of laughter echoed through the forest.
Other guests at the retreat said the sound of laughter ringing through the trees brightened their day.
It might feel strange at first, but the body soon responds to the prompt - letting good feelings fly, Ms Ben-Moshe said.
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